Samoan international, James So’oialo, younger brother of former All-Blacks Number 8 Rodney So’oialo and former Harlequins scrum half Stephen will join Connacht this summer.
So’oialo, who played in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, was recently named in the Samoan squad for the upcoming tour to South Africa, where they will face Scotland, Italy and the Golden Lions.
The 24-year-old utility back has signed for Connacht Rugby from Wellington Norths on a two-year deal.
Incoming Head Coach Pat Lam, who has worked with So’oialo in Samoa, said: “James is a superb utility back who can play all positions but half back.
“He can kick goals from up to 60 metres out and I’m sure with the Galway wind, we will see him kick from even further out.
“To have someone in our squad with so much versatility and who can kick goals from that distance is a real weapon in our armoury.
“James will join us for the pre-season straight from his summer duties with Samoa and I’m looking forward to catching up with him then.”
Following Leinster’s Amlin Challenge Cup win at the weekend, Connacht has secured a place in the Heineken Cup for a third consecutive year.
“We will be competing in the Heineken Cup again next season and that is fantastic.” Lam said.
“We have seen the positive impact the competition has had on the community over the last two years.
“To be playing against the best teams in the most elite rugby competition is where we want to be and this is how we grow and build on the work that has been done over the last number of years.
“Personally, I loved being part of the Heineken Cup as a player and I am now very excited about my involvement as a coach for the first time.”