James So'oialo: Connacht sign Samoan international back

James So'oialo played for Samoa in the 2011 World Cup

Connacht have completed their signings for next season by bringing in Samoan international James So'oialo.

The utility back, 24, played for Samoa in the 2011 World Cup and has been named in the country's squad for their upcoming tour of South Africa.

So'oialo has previously worked with new Connacht coach Pat Lam in Samoa and joins the Irish side on a two-year deal from Wellington Norths.

"James is a superb utility back," said Lam.

"He can play all positions but half-back and can kick goals from up to 60 metres out.

"James will join us for the pre-season straight from his summer duties with Samoa and I'm looking forward to catching up with him then."

Following Leinster's 34-13 Amlin Challenge Cup final win against Stade Francais at the weekend, Lam and the Connacht squad can look forward to a third successive appearance in the Heineken Cup next season.

"We have seen the positive impact the competition has had on the community over the last two years," added Lam.

"To be playing against the best teams in the most elite rugby competition is where we want to be and this is how we grow and build on the work that has been done over the last number of years.

"Personally, I loved being part of the Heineken Cup as a player and I am now very excited about my involvement as a coach for the first time."

So'oialo joins Leinster's Fionn Carr and Craig Ronaldson as back signings for next season with Tonga international winger Fetu'u Vainikolo having left the Irish province to sign for Exeter.

Ireland lock Mike McCarthy is leaving Connacht to move to Leinster with veteran forwards Johnny O'Connor and Adrian Flavin both retired from duty.

However, forwards additions will include Munster hooker Sean Henry, Irish-qualified Exeter lock Aly Muldowney and former New Zealand Under-20 captain Jake Heenan.

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