In what will be seen as new coach Pat Lam’s first major contribution at Connacht Rugby, the club have signed the New Zealand U20s team captain on a three year deal.
Openside flanker Jake Heenan captained the New Zealand Under-20s when they finished runners-up to South Africa in the 2012 Junior World Championship last summer.
The former Whangarei Boys’ High School First XV captain went on to sign for Auckland and was a member of the Blues development programme.
Incoming Head Coach Pat Lam told the club’s website about the young forward he spotted at an early age:
“I came across Jake when he was 17 years old. He played for the Blues Under-18 team when they won the National competition and, even then, I could see what a natural leader and genuine team player he was.
“He brought those leadership skills, as well as his physicality, to the U20 World Championship last summer with the Baby Blacks.
“Jake is highly regarded back in New Zealand and it is a real coup for Connacht to catch him. I’m very much looking forward to working with him when he arrives here in early July.”