Irish internationals Gavin Duffy and John O’Connor will be returning to Connacht as Michael Bradley beefs up the squad for next season.
Ireland international Gavin Duffy has left NEC Harlequins with immediate effect to re-join European Challenge Cup side Connacht; the club who he joined Quins from in the summer of 2003.
The 25 year-old full back / centre made his league debut for Quins against Rotherham Titans on 20th September 2003 and went on to be a key figure in helping the club to win the European Challenge Cup that season. Indeed, Duffy scored the opening try in the 27-26 victory over Montferrand in the final at the Madejski Stadium on 22nd May 2004.
“I have been given the opportunity to return to Connacht and to play some first team rugby and I felt that it was too good an opportunity to miss out on. I am very grateful to Dean (Richards) and the Quins management team for allowing me to take this chance”.
Connacht are set to confirm the repatriation of flanker Johnny O’Connor after a four-year absence according to an Irish Times report. The Irish international seems set to return to the Irish province from Wasps at the end of the season on what is believed to be a two-year deal.
The 27-year-old still has 12 months to run on his contract with the London club but it appears that Connacht have reached an agreement to secure an early release. O’Connor left Connacht in 2003 at the behest of former Ireland coach Warren Gatland who had nurtured his development at the province before taking him to Wasps when the New Zealander was appointed head coach.
During his time in London, Wasps won the European Challenge Cup, the Heineken Cup European and the Premiership, although a couple of serious injuries (Achilles and neck) deprived O’Connor of the chance to play on some of the biggest stages. He is a popular player with players and supporters.