Irish qualifier Shane Bolton, Shimlas and Cheetah Under-21 player, has signed Connacht Rugby before the 2021-22 season.
Bolton, whose grandmother was from Dublin, would arrive at the Irish club which has a reputation as one of the brightest youngsters in rugby in South Africa. The 20-year-old represented Free State University in the Varsity Cup and was also impressive in last year’s SA U-21 Rugby Championship.
A strong and skilled ball carrier, his ability to play in midfield and anywhere across all three defenders will be a huge boost to Andy Friend’s squad next season. Bolton scored an attempt and fired for the Invitational that recently beat the Cheetahs at Bloemfontein.
“After learning about Shane’s availability and his Irish origins, we monitored his development and did some additional work to confirm his ability to play,” said a friend.
It soon became clear that he was the type of player who could add real value to our team. He has been making headlines in South Africa with his recent performances and while still only 20 years old, he has all the attributes to become a top-tier professional player.
Versatile players are a key component we look for in our lineup mix, and Shine fits this category perfectly. He started as full-back and winger before moving to midfield in the last year or two, so we’re looking forward to his arrival and seeing how best to integrate him into the squad.
Bolton, who also represented the Country Blue Bulls at U18 Academy Week in 2018, says Connacht is the perfect place to start his career.
After many conversations with Andy and Tim [Allnutt] I knew this was an opportunity I had to take. They talked about how proud they are of developing the players and I immediately felt that Connacht was the right place to take my game to the next level. I can’t wait to reconnect with my Irish roots and get ready for next season.