Former rugby league star earmarked for vacant Connacht position

Connacht Rugby is hoping to complete its squad for next season with the signing of former Leeds Carnegie player, Henry Fa’amili.

The 31-years-old Samoan, who plays either centre or wing, is expected to come to Connacht on a one-year contract after the province’s first-choice centre All Black Benson Stanley opted to remain in Auckland.

Fa’amili, who grew up in South Auckland, is a former rugby league star who switched codes in 2007 when he was signed by French outfit Biarritz. Two seasons ago he made the move to premiership side Leeds, which this year has been relegated to the first division.

Connacht hope Fa’amili will fill the last vacant position in Eric Elwood’s squad and, although not Connacht’s first-choice centre, he is expected to provide some much-needed experience to a youthful midfield.

The former Samoan rugby league player, who also played for the New Zealand Warriors, built his reputation in England when scoring 72 tries in 92 appearances for professional rugby league giants Warrington Wolves. After switching to Union and spending two years in France, he moved to Leeds, where he started in 24 of Leeds fixtures last season, scoring five tries. Ultimately Leeds, which had invested heavily, finished last in the Aviva Premiership and the club was forced to release some 12 players.

Although Fa’amili has played on the wing, many believe he is better utilised in the centre, which is the position Elwood will want him to play. With Niva Ta’auso, Troy Nathan, and Aidan Wynne having departed the Sportsground, it is hoped Fa’amili and new signing Fetu Vainikolo will add some much-needed experience to Elwood’s relatively youthful backline that features newcomers James Loxton, Matthew Jarvis, Mark McCrea, and Niall O’Connor.


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