Connacht sign Auckland openside Nepia Fox-Matamua

New Zealander will join Pat Lam’s side in time for their 2015/16 campaign

They may be down their two senior openside flankers for the remainder of the season, but Pat Lam has already put plans in place for next year with capture of Nepia Fox-Matamua.

Jake Heenan has been ruled out for the rest of this campaign because of another shoulder injury, while Willie Faloon's Connacht career has ended prematurely with a similar problem.

But Connacht have announced that back-row Fox-Matamua (23) will sign a two-year deal with the province following the move from ITM Cup side Auckland, and the New Zealander will join Lam's outfit in time for pre-season training.

“With Willie returning to Ulster, another quality openside flanker was needed for next season’s squad.


“I have worked with Nepia at Auckland. He’ll be here for June and he start of pre-season. He’s very good on the ball. He was in the academy and was ahead of Jake Heenan. Coming through there was so many of them. There was a lot of talented openside flankers there.

"Nepia was in our academy when I was at the Auckland Blues. He has played some ITM Cup and was behind Luke Braid and Sean Polwart, but still got three or four matches last year," Lam said.

Meanwhile, Lam said it’s time for him to take his punishment after being found giulty of misconduct by the Pro12.

Last week Lam was hit with an unprecedented fine of €8,000, €5,000 of which is to be suspended, after he pleaded guilty to the charge related to comments he made about referee Leighton Hodges.

“Not good, not good,” he said. “At the end of the day I went through the process. The process is the process and the regulations: there was misconduct so guilty, now face the consequences and now move on.”

Lam admitted he was slightly hamstrung in what he could say about the disciplinary procedure, and had little to add when asked if he regretted his outburst and if he had a problem with Hodges taking charge of Connacht next game with Munster on Saturday.

“No comment. I can’t comment on that,” Lam said.

He also confirmed that he was not allowed to speak about the outcome of the official complaint he made to referee's assessor Ed Morrison, and that all complaints must be made in private.

“We’ve gone through that process and there was an outcome but that has to remain private...until the Pro12 are ready to make an announcement,” he said.