Guinness PRO12: Nepia Fox-Matamua to join Connacht

Openside flanker will join the growing New Zealand ranks in Galway as Pat Lam draws on Auckland connections

Connacht Rugby have confirmed the signing of Nepia Fox-Matamua for next season.

The openside flanker, who is the great grandson of All Blacks legend George Nepia of the 1924 ‘Invincibles’ side, will join the Irish province on a two-year deal from ITM Cup side Auckland.

Technically he is an out-and-out number seven with natural ball skills that have seen him excel in Sevens rugby as well.

Pat Lam on new signing Nepia Fox-Matamua

The 23-year-old is expected to join up with his new club in June rather than playing in the ITM Cup as he links up again with Pat Lam, who coached him at the Auckland academy.

Fox-Matamua will become eighth New Zealand-born player to move to Galway with Lam continuing to make his use of his Auckland connections.

Former Auckland captain Tom McCartney prop/hooker joined Connacht earlier this season, while All Blacks centurion Mils Muliaina and Bundee Aki also made the move to the west of Ireland.

And Lam believes that Fox-Matamua will fit in very well at Connacht.

“We’re delighted to be in a position to announce Nepia,” Lam said.

“With Willie [Faloon] returning to Ulster, another quality openside flanker was needed for next season’s squad.

“I have worked with Nepia at Auckland. He is a great team man and having captained different sides in his young career, he also possesses excellent leadership qualities.

“Technically he is an out-and-out number seven with natural ball skills that have seen him excel in Sevens rugby as well.

“I know that he is the type of player and person that will fit in very well to the Connacht community.”

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