Connacht sign Irish-qualified scrumhalf James Mitchell

He joins the Irish province on a two-year deal

James Mitchell

Image: Mike Egerton/PA Archive/PA Images

Connacht have completed the signing of Irish-qualified scrumhalf James Mitchell on a two-year deal.

The 22-year-old from Maidstone in England joins from English Premiership side, Sale Sharks. Mitchell has played his rugby in England for the past three seasons and qualifies for Ireland through his maternal grandmother who is originally from Fermanagh.

"I'm really looking forward to moving over to Connacht," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

"From speaking to a few people about the club I'm really excited by the new challenge and I believe it is a great opportunity for me.

"I've been watching Connacht Rugby for a few seasons now and have been really taken by the exciting brand of rugby they play. Hopefully I can make a positive contribution to the team."

Mitchell represented England at U16, U17 and U18 level before being selected for the 2015 U20 Six Nations squad.

He played in all five games in that competition and went on to feature in all five games at the U20 World Championship in Italy.

James Mitchell lining out for England U20s against Ireland in 2015. Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

He made his Sharks debut back in 2014 against Worcester and went on to play 20 times for the first team. Of those 20 appearances, 12 came in last season's campaign.

"We're delighted to be acquiring the services of a young Irish qualified player like James," said Connacht CEO Willie Ruane.

"His signing highlights the potential of the new IRFU IQ programme when it comes to identifying Irish qualified talent overseas.

"James comes with a great deal of experience from playing in the Premiership and we’re excited to see what he will add to the squad and the scrumhalf position."