Flanker Ofisa to leave Connacht


Rugby:Flanker Ray Ofisa, who has been with the province since 2007 is to leave Connacht at the end of the season

Connacht Rugby has confirmed that the Samoan number seven will not feature for the province next season. The 31-year-old has been an integral part of the Connacht set-up since he joined in 2007 from North Otago in New Zealand.

An aggressive, dynamic ball-carrier Ofisa was one of the hardest hitting tacklers in the game despite not being the biggest member of the back-row.

Speaking about Ray's departure Head Coach Eric Elwood said: "I'd like to pay tribute to the hard work, commitment and respect that Ray has shown throughout his six years here at Connacht. He is one of the quietest men in the squad but once he crosses the whitewash he can turn a match in a flash with a moment of brilliance.

“In his time here he has really bought into the ethos of everything we are about and I know Ray considers Connacht a family away from home. It's a credit to the man and his strength of character that even now he is finishing the season on a high and on behalf of myself, the management, the players and all our supporters I would like to wish Ray every success for the future."

In addition to Ofisa’s departure five players, Henry Fa'afili, Dermot Murphy, Dylan Rogers, Jamie Stephens and Brian Tuohy have not been offered contracts for the 2012/13 season:

Team Manager Tim Allnutt said: "Following discussions with Head Coach Eric Elwood and his coaching team it was decided that these players would not be offered contracts for next season. On behalf of all at Connacht Rugby I would like to wish them all the very best of luck in their future careers and thank them for their professionalism and commitment whilst they were at the club."

Meanwhile Connacht captain Gavin Duffy has penned a contract extension to stay at the Sportsground until at least 2014.

Fullback Duffy, from Ballina, spent four years at Harlequins, has won ten Ireland caps and turned out over 100 times for Connacht.

“Staying with Connacht means a huge amount to me, as a team we have become a really tight knit group this season and that is only going to get better next season as we add even more quality to the side,” said Duffy.

“Staying at the Sportsground, and the security a two year deal brings, means I can concentrate on my own game, getting the best out of the people around me and driving Connacht forward."

"It means that I'm still available for national selection and winning more Irish caps is always a goal of mine. Brining up a young family in Galway is great and my wife and five month old daughter are very happy here so I'm delighted to be able to commit to Connacht for the next two seasons."