Ah You bids to help Connacht cause entering Dragons' den
Published 05/01/2011 | 05:00
New Connacht prop Rodney Ah You hopes he can play a part in ending their long losing run away to the Dragons tomorrow.
The 22-year-old -- who was a member of New Zealand's winning Junior World Cup sides in both 2007 and 2008 -- made his debut against Harlequins in the Amlin Challenge Cup before Christmas and is settling in well.
"I am enjoying it in Connacht. It is a bit different playing rugby over here but I am learning to adapt," said the prop, who can play either side of the scrum.
Ah You, who comes from a boxing background, only started playing rugby six years ago as a 16-year-old but has had a meteoric rise in the game, breaking through to the Canterbury side last season. But now his mission is to end Connacht's losing run -- they have lost eight competitive games on the spin -- and earn a new contract when his current deal finishes at the end of this season.
"Having such a good bunch of lads here helps and makes the job easier. I'd be keen to stay here for another couple of seasons," he said.
"There is competition in the front row, you are lucky to even make the bench some times and it'll be hard to get by Jamie Hagan and Brett Wilkinson. I have to keep my fitness up which is a bit rusty right now but I have been working hard on that the past few weeks."
Connacht coach Eric Elwood drafted in Ah You when former England international Robbie Morris retired with a back injury.
"I have been watching Rodney play for the last couple of years," Elwood said. "When I was coaching the Irish U-20s Rod was playing with the New Zealand team that won the World Cup so (forwards coach) Dan McFarland and I had known Rodney and were aware of his pedigree. He is working hard on his game and will only get better."
Injury forces Jones to quit
Wales international Dafydd Jones has announced his retirement after failing to recover from a serious shoulder injury.
The Scarlets flanker was hurt during Wales' clash against New Zealand in November 2009, and underwent two operations.
But he has now decided to retire from rugby after consulting specialists. The 31-year-old won 42 caps, making his Test debut in 2002, and had 13 seasons with the Llanelli-based Scarlets.
He will continue his association with the Scarlets for the next six months, assisting in the academy and community departments. "This has been a tough time for me and my family," he said.
Elsewhere, Aironi lock Marco Bortolami has received a one-match ban after collecting three yellow cards in the Magners League this season and will miss Friday night's away game against Cardiff Blues.