With the Heineken Cup, RaboDirect PRO12 and British & Irish Cup competitions all arriving at the Sportsground next season Head Coach Eric Elwood has been busy extending Connacht’s squad and has added Jason Harris-Wright from Bristol and Brian Murphy from Galwegians to the Connacht ranks.
Adding to the extensive expansion behind the scenes both players join Connacht on one year contracts. Along with the Heineken Cup returning to Galway, the British & Irish Cup will add to the number of competitive fixtures in the season and there is a massive opportunity for exposure to rugby at the top level. Connacht Rugby are delighted to be able to provide genuine rugby experience to emerging, Irish-qualified talent and Harris-Wright and Murphy are the latest additions to that contingent.
24 year old hooker Harris-Wright is a product of the Leinster Academy and has 11 senior appearances for the club as well as four Heineken Cup matches under his belt including the 2011 final victory over Northampton Saints.
Jason was part of the Ireland U20 World Championship team that beat Tonga in 2008 and featured in all bar one of Ireland U20's RBS 6Nations matches the same year.
Asked about joining Connacht he said:
"I would just like to say I'm delighted to have signed for Connacht Rugby and I'm really looking forward to being part of a great club who I believe are making huge strides both in Europe and in the domestic competition. I look forward to meeting all the lads and getting stuck into pre-season next month."
His inclusion in next season's squad will strengthen the depth at hooker with the experienced Adrian Flavin and Ethienne Reynecke already in situ.
Speaking about Jason joining the club Assistant Coach Dan McFarland said:
"I'm delighted to be working with Jason again; since I worked with him last with Ireland U20's team he has gained a lot of experience including RaboDirect PRO12 and Heineken Cup with Leinster. He's a good strong, aggressive athlete and this is a great opportunity for him to develop his game even further."
Meanwhile 26 year old Brian Murphy earns his first professional contract having joined from Ulster Bank All Ireland League club side Galwegians. Murphy was voted the iRadio Senior Club Player of the Year at the recent Connacht Annual Awards having performed consistently over the course of the season. The versatile centre/fullback, who came through the Connacht age-grade system, was part of the 2006 Connacht U21 side that beat Leinster in Donnybrook. He went on to represent Connacht at Junior level before moving from Corrib RFC to Galwegians RFC and has been rewarded for his consistently high level performances in the All Ireland League this season.