Chiefs captain Craig Clarke agrees to join Connacht
Last Updated: 18/02/13 1:07pm
Craig Clarke: Will join up with Connacht next season
Connacht have pulled off a major coup with the signing of Super Rugby winning captain Craig Clarke from the Chiefs.
The 29-year-old guided the Waikato franchise to their maiden Super Rugby title last season, sharing the captaincy with Liam Messam.
However the second row, who has had previous spells at Canterbury, the Crusaders and the Hurricanes, has now agreed a three-year deal with Connacht and will team up with them at the end of the current Super Rugby campaign.
Although uncapped, Clarke has previously been part of the New Zealand training squad while he played for the Junior All Blacks during the 2009 Pacific Nations Cup.
Connacht chief executive Tom Sears said: "We are absolutely delighted with this key signing - it is a major coup for Connacht.
"This is something we have been working towards for some time now and the fact a player of Craig's calibre has chosen to commit to Connacht is a clear sign of the progress we have made and our intent going forward.
"Our coaching staff is delighted to have Craig on board, he has all of the qualities we are looking for on and off the field and we have no doubt that he will be a major influence for Connacht in the seasons to come.
"With a three-year deal Craig has shown he really believes in what we are doing and the potential we have. After leading the Chiefs to the Super XV title last season Craig certainly wasn't short of options - he has chosen Connacht because he wants to be a part of what is happening here."