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McCartney signs three-year Connacht deal

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/12/2016 Nick Purewal
Image of Tom McCartney © INPHO/Rex Shutterstock Image of Tom McCartney

Former Blues front-rower Tom McCartney has moved a step closer to playing est rugby for Ireland by signing a new three-year deal at Connacht.

The 31-year-old will qualify for Ireland on residency grounds in November next year and could yet force his way into head coach Joe Schmidt's plans.

McCartney's new deal also provides a shot in the arm for Connacht, who will lose head coach Pat Lam, formerly in charge of the Blues, to Bristol at the end of the season.

McCartney joined Connacht in 2014 following seven seasons at the Blues in which he filled in at prop on occasions. He tallied 100 NPC games between stints at North Harbour and Auckland.

Lam tipped McCartney to remain pivotal to the Pro 12 champions.

"It is a massive statement for the future of the squad and the province," he said.

"I've known Tom for so much of his career. Along with all the other recent re-signings, he will be an important contributor to the future success of the province."

Connacht recently extended the contract of former Chiefs and Counties Manukau midfield back Bundee Aki, who also qualifies to represent Ireland next year.

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