Sunday 18 February 2018

Elwood snaps up Reynecke to replace outgoing Cronin

Connacht have signed South African Ethienne Reynecke from Saracens to replace departing Ireland hooker Sean Cronin.

Cronin, who has won 12 caps since arriving at the Sportsground from Munster three years ago, is moving to Leinster and, with tight-head prop Jamie Hagan also heading to the RDS, Connacht coach Eric Elwood launched a search for an experienced hooker.

Reynecke is currently on loan from Saracens to the Stormers franchise in South Africa as emergency cover. The 29-year-old joined Saracens from the Lions in South Africa two years ago and has made 27 appearances for them.

His last appearance for the Lions franchise was against the British and Irish Lions in 2009.

Elwood said Connacht were anxious to find an experienced replacement for Cronin, with Reynecke (29) arriving on a two-year deal.

"He is a quality player who has plenty of experience and has played at a high level," said Elwood.

"We have a big turnover of players this summer so it will be great to have such an experienced player coming in to help us build on the progress of this season."

Elsewhere, Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has withdrawn captain Alastair Kellock, Richie Gray, John Barclay, Ross Ford and Allan Jacobsen from club rugby for the remainder of the season to focus on the World Cup.

Kellock, Gray and Barclay will not be available for Glasgow and Edinburgh will be without Ford and Jacobsen for the rest of the Magners League campaign. The five players will train with their clubs but will not be able to participate in contact sessions.

Robinson said: "This is a decision that's not been taken lightly. It's a decision that's based on individual players and their programmes. It's a reflection on the season and the previous seasons they've had."

Meanwhile, New Zealand winger Sitiveni Sivivatu will join French champions Clermont for three seasons after September's World Cup.

The All Black, who has suffered serious shoulder and knee problems over the last year, becomes the latest in a long line of leading foreign players to sign up for France's wealthy Top 14.

Irish Independent

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