RaboDirect PRO12: Michael Swift and Mata Fifita sign one-year extensions at Connacht
Last Updated: 29/04/14 10:28am
Michael Swift: In action against Toulouse on the right is set for a 15th season with Connacht
Connacht received a boost ahead of the new RaboDirect PRO12 season with club captain Michael Swift and flanker Mata Fifita both signing contract extensions.
Swift, the club’s longest serving player, and Tongan forward Fifita have penned deals with Connacht and the IRFU that will see them stay at the Sportsground for another year.
In a 14-year spell with the Irish province, second-row Swift has made 262 appearances and holds the Celtic League record with 180 caps.
"Swifty continues to defy the years and prove himself as a true Connacht man. His work ethic, passion and commitment to Connacht Rugby is inspirational to the management, players, sponsors and supporters."
Connacht head coach Pat Lam believes 36-year-old Swift is still able to compete at the elite level and admits there were no second thoughts when it came to offering him a new deal.
"Swifty continues to defy the years and prove himself as a true Connacht man,” he said.
“His work ethic, passion and commitment to Connacht Rugby is inspirational to the management, players, sponsors and supporters.
"When myself and Dan McFarland sat down with him recently, it was evident how much he wants this contract.
“He is still so hungry to play and we know that he will continue to push hard in training and fight for a place while also leading the squad. Swifty is, and always will be, a fantastic ambassador for this club."
Swift is relishing the opportunity of another term at Connacht, who remain a lowly ninth in the PRO12 standings this term, and claims he is excited to see the club develop.
"I'm delighted to have another year of rugby with Connacht to look forward to,” the veteran lock added.
“Every year there are progressive changes happening at the club. I think there is something special happening here at the moment so I just want to be part of it for as long as possible.
“I'm excited about finishing off this current season on a high and being part of another Connacht squad going forward."
Meanwhile, injuries have marred Fifita’s Connacht career to date, limiting the forward to just 15 appearances since his arrival from Sligo in 2012.
Despite suffering season-disrupting injuries, Fifita has played been involved in three Heineken Cup clashes, and also had a significant involvement with the Eagles' side in both season's British & Irish Cup.