Friday 2 December 2016

Ili arrival adds to Connacht's kiwi contingent

Published 15/09/2016 | 02:30

Connacht head coach Pat Lam. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Connacht head coach Pat Lam. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Connacht coach Pat Lam has bolstered his struggling squad with New Zealander Stacey Ili who joins from Auckland.

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The utility back adds to the Guinness Pro12 champions' options after a poor start to the season that has left them rooted to the foot of the league after successive heavy home defeats in their opening games.

The 25-year-old can play in the centre or in the back three and will arrive in Galway this week despite having featured for Auckland in recent weeks.

Lam has worked with Ili before and he will be familiar with Nepia Fox-Matamua, Jake Heenan and Tom McCartney who have all made similar moves to the province.

Lam's side are fighting on two fronts this season and their coach is looking for Ili to add to his options.

"As we look to challenge in both the Pro12 and Champions Cup, the addition to our squad of a player like Stacey increases our options all across the back line," he said.

"Stacey is someone we've been looking at for quite a while now. He is an exciting and skillful player who will complement the type of game that we want to play."

Ili becomes the fifth non-Irish qualfifed player in the Connacht squad along with Fox-Matamua, Bundee Aki, McCartney and Marnitz Boshoff. He is now one of eight New Zealanders on the panel.

Irish Independent

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