Blues' McCartney heads north
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:55
Ability to play both hooker and prop
Tom McCartney has decided to swap Super Rugby for the Pro12 by signing a three-year contract with Irish side Connacht.
McCartney has been a consistent performer for the Blues since he made his Super Rugby debut in 2008 against the Chiefs.
He has since accumulated 64 appearances in the competition.
Highly rated for his impressive strength and work ethic, McCartney weighs in at 110kg, has the ability to play both hooker and prop.
Last season, he played in the No.1 jersey in the absence of All Black Tony Woodcock, but has transitioned back to hooker with the Blues this year.
McCartney will be joining up with former Auckland coach Pat Lamb who is in charge of Connacht at present, Lam was the one to give McCartney his first start for Auckland in 2007.
"We're delighted to be in a position to announce Tom [McCartney] for next season.
"Hooker was a key area that we had to target for recruitment.
"I have worked with Tom at both Auckland and the Blues in New Zealand and he is an excellent team man who was a key member of our leadership group.
"He is extremely hard working and respected by all the players and coaches around him.
"There are a lot of similarities in character with Tom and young Jake [Heenan] who made the move from Auckland to Ireland last year and who has fit in so well both with the squad and in terms of his rugby.
"I have no doubt that Tom will make the same impression here, both with the team and with the wonderful Connacht supporters," Lam said of the latest signing.
Speaking from New Zealand, McCartney said of his move: "After talking with Pat Lam, I'm really excited about the move up to Connacht to help achieve their vision.
"I've obviously worked under Pat before and I really enjoy his coaching philosophy.
"He gave me my first start for Auckland back in 2007 and really, I owe a lot of my career achievements to him from those early days.
"I've been with the Blues and Auckland Rugby for over seven years now and enjoyed every minute. But this move is a fantastic opportunity and the challenge I've been looking for."
McCartney will move to Connacht at the conclusion of the New Zealand NPC season.
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