Connacht Academy players Sean O’Brien and Peter Robb have secured senior contracts with the province.
The pair made their top flight debuts in the Challenge Cup victory over Enisei-STM in Siberia last year and were subsequently given game time in the PRO12 competition.
Connacht coach Pat Lam was impressed with the way they stepped up to the plate in Siberia. “They have trained well with us and grabbed the opportunity with both hands when it came. Playing your first game for Connacht in -27 degrees in Siberia was always going to be testing but like all the Academy players training with us they were well integrated in the team and felt comfortable in the systems. They both have a lot of potential as young Irish players and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to continue working with them again next season.”
Galway born Sean O’Brien (21) can play across the second and back row, has captained the Ireland U19 and U20 sides and has also skippered the Connacht Eagles this season. O’Brien made his senior debut in November and also featured in the PRO12 victory over Munster at Thomond Park. He has played seven games this season, including two starts at blindside flanker in the back-to-back European games with Newcastle Falcons.
Centre Peter Robb (21) is in his second year of the Connacht Academy and also made his debut in Siberia when he started in midfield with Bundee Aki. The former Blackrock College schoolboy went on to earn his first PRO12 cap away to Cardiff Blues in December before starting both games against Newcastle Falcons that same month. Robb started all five games for the Ireland U20s in the 2014 6 Nations campaign and was set to continue his form in the Junior World Championship in New Zealand but had his season cut short when he sustained an injury in a Junior World Cup warm-up game against Scotland U20s.
Connacht chief executive officer Willie Ruane hailed the duo who he believes have the potential to push hard for “Ireland recognition in the future”.
“It is really exciting for us to have two more young players coming through from the Academy into the senior squad,” Ruane said.
“Sean and Peter join Rory Parata, Shane Delahunt and James Connolly who have already been announced as graduates for next season and so we are very pleased with the talent stream coming through. So many people have been impressed with the performances of our young Academy players in the senior team this season and we believe that players like Sean and Peter have the potential to push hard for both Connacht and Ireland recognition in the future.”
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