Thursday 21 September 2017

Connacht sign Irish qualified ex-England U20's scrum-half James Mitchell

James Mitchell of Sale Sharks during the Rugby Champions Cup Pool 3 match between Saracens and Sale Sharks at Allianz Park on December 10, 2016 in Barnet, United Kingdom. (Photo by Craig Mercer - CameraSport via Getty Images)
James Mitchell of Sale Sharks during the Rugby Champions Cup Pool 3 match between Saracens and Sale Sharks at Allianz Park on December 10, 2016 in Barnet, United Kingdom. (Photo by Craig Mercer - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Connacht have completed the signing of Sale and former England U20's scrum-half James Mitchell.

The England underage international is incoming Head Coach Kieran Keane's second signing following the acquisition of former Leinster lock Gavin Thornbury back in April, with the 22-year-old expected to fill the role vacated by outgoing replacement scrum-half John Cooney, who will join Les Kiss at Ulster next season.

Mitchell can qualify for Ireland through his maternal grandmother, who hails from Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, with the Maidstone native joining Connacht from Sale Sharks, where he has played professionally for the past three seasons.

Mitchell previously represented England at Under-16, U17 and U18 level before being selected for the 2015 U20 6 Nations Squad. He played in all five games in that competition and subsequently went on to feature in all five games at the U20 World Championship in Italy.

Commenting on the latest player signing, Connacht CEO Willie Ruane said:

“We’re delighted to be acquiring the services of a young Irish qualified player like James. His signing highlights the potential of the new IRFU IQ programme when it comes to identifying Irish qualified talent overseas.

“James comes with a great deal of experience from playing in the Premiership and we’re excited to see what he will add to the squad and the scrumhalf position.”

Mitchell said that he is excited about joining the province and that he's been impressed by what he's seen from the 2016 PRO12 champions over the past few seasons.

“I'm really looking forward to moving over to Connacht," said Mitchell.

"From speaking to a few people about the club I'm really excited by the new challenge and I believe it is a great opportunity for me.

"I've been watching Connacht Rugby for a few seasons now and have been really taken by the exciting brand of rugby they play. Hopefully I can make a positive contribution to the team.”

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