Connacht have confirmed the signing of 28-year-old lock forward James Cannon from Wasps.
The news was confirmed in a press statement on the Connacht Rugby website on Monday afternoon, and revealed that Irish-qualified Cannon, who stands at 6ft 8, has already joined up his new team-mates in Galway and was included in the province’s European Champions Cup squad, which was registered last week.
“James is a player that we have been interested in for some time now so we’re excited to be welcoming him to the Sportsground and to Connacht Rugby,” said CEO Willie Ruane.
Cannon has made 93 appearances and scored one try in the famous black and yellow shirts of the Aviva Premiership side, having begun his career initially with the Northampton Saints – where his father played and has been inducted in the Saints’ Hall of Fame.
The Kettering native was part of England’s U20s Grand Slam-winning squad in 2008 but found his opportunities limited more recently by the presence of several top class locks at the club including England star Joe Launchbury as well as Matt Symons, James Gaskell and Kearnan Myall. Cannon made 10 appearances for Wasps in total last season but had yet to appear for the first team so far this term.
Connacht coach Pat Lam is looking forward to calling on his new recruit in the coming weeks, saying:
“James has been part of a competitive mix of second row players at Wasps but has shown his talent when given the chance.
“He brings a vast amount of experience from playing in both the Aviva Premiership and European Champions Cup and will greatly boost our second row options. We’re all looking forward to welcoming him to Connacht Rugby.”
Speaking to the Wasps website, Cannon himself commented: “I’ve really enjoyed my time at Wasps and without doubt have made friends for life. It has been an interesting journey to say the least, from the dark days a few years ago to the incredible place the club are now in, with plenty of exciting potential still to fulfil.
“I wish the boys and everyone associated with Wasps every success for this season and the future, bar of course the games against Connacht in Europe! I would like to thank Dai [Young] and all of the coaches I’ve worked with during my time at the club and everyone in the backroom team who has helped me along the way.
“I’m very excited about the new challenge in Connacht and look forward to working hard to try to get more first team opportunities and to play my part within the squad.”
Connacht take on Edinburgh at the Sportsground this coming Friday evening in the hope of securing their first points of the new season. They are currently bottom of the PRO12 standings with no points after three games played.
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