herald

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Connacht gets vote of confidence from players despite Lam's move

Quinn Roux
Quinn Roux

Connacht have followed the devastating news of Pat Lam's exit with the strategic, slow drip-feed release of their players' commitment to the cause.

Ireland-bound Tom McCartney's three-year deal was announced on Monday.

It was the turn of Ireland lock Quinn Roux, 26, out-half Jack Carty, 24, and loose-head prop Denis Buckley, 26, to nail their green colours to the mast with two-year extensions.

Of course, South African Roux first entered into the Irish system at Leinster where an unfortunate series of injuries prevented his development.

It was the decision to move West that has revitalised his career, the highlight of which was his impact for Ireland in his native South Africa last June.

Move

Roscommon men Carty, the former schoolmate of Robbie Henshaw at Marist Athlone, and Buckley, a past pupil of Blackrock College, have followed the lead move.

This all comes just under two months after the much sought after Bundee Aki and Ultan Dillane signed on the dotted line for three and two years, respectively. It was after those announcements that Lam revealed he would be leaving Connacht for Bristol at the end of the season.

The best way to defuse the ticking time bomb that is Lam's departure date is to get back to winning ways and show the players still believe.

"These re-signings are another big boost for Connacht Rugby and our supporters," issued Connacht Chief Executive Willie Ruane.

Vision

"Obviously, developing and retaining Connacht-born players like Denis (Buckley) and Jack (Carty) is a huge part of our vision of 'Grassroots to Green Shirts.'

"Quinn (Roux) came to us a few seasons ago on the back of a difficult two years with injuries. He has really taken his opportunity with both hands and we're delighted he sees his future here with Connacht."

Meanwhile, Ireland U20 head coach Nigel Carolan has released an extended 41-man squad to prepare for the Six Nations.

Ulster's Robert Lyttle is the standout name from his try-scoring exploits in the PRO12 this season.

Connacht lock Cillian Gallagher is the only automatic choice from last season listed, with Leinster leading the list of representatives with 15.

However, there are others not included, like Munster's Bill Johnston, Ulster's Johnny McPhillips and Harlequins' Niall Saunders, all half-backs.

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