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Champions Connacht sign up Cannon to bolster struggling ranks


By Jonathan Bradley

Published 27/09/2016

Experience: James Cannon has joined Connacht for the year
Experience: James Cannon has joined Connacht for the year

Connacht yesterday announced that lock James Cannon will join the province for the remainder of the season.

The 28-year-old comes from Wasps and bolsters a squad that has limped through a winless start to their PRO12 campaign.

The head coach of the PRO12 champions, Pat Lam, welcomed the addition.

"James has been part of a competitive mix of second row players at Wasps but has shown his talent when given the chance," said Lam, who has watched his side lose their first three games this season while a fourth, against Zebre, was abandoned due to weather while they were trailing.

"He brings a vast amount of experience from playing in both the Aviva Premiership and European Champions Cup and will greatly boost our second row options. We're all looking forward to welcoming him to Connacht Rugby."

Cannon is Irish-qualified but played for England at under-20 level and has also previously represented Northampton Saints.

He added: "I'm very excited about the new challenge in Connacht and look forward to working hard to try to get more first team opportunities and to play my part within the squad."

Despite the westerners' struggles this season, Lam is refusing to entertain talk of a crisis at the Sportsground, where Ulster will travel next Friday.

"I'm not concerned if people talk about a crisis. I wasn't concerned when people said we were great last season," he said.

"I have a good saying off a mentor I work with, 'I have no business doing what I do if I listen to people who have no idea or experience about what I do'.

"If I start listening to people then I'll lose my focus on the job and then there will be a crisis.

"The only way we are going to improve is by keeping working on the things we can do, not beating ourselves up about what's happened or wishing we'd like to be somewhere else."

Connacht take on Edinburgh this weekend with the Scottish club possibly set to be without Fraser McKenzie. The lock was cited for alleged dangerous play after his side's loss to Munster and faces a disciplinary hearing in Cardiff tomorrow.

Leinster, meanwhile, are hoping to have Fergus McFadden and Ian Nagle back for their trip to Cardiff this weekend.

McFadden, who was a late withdrawal from the panel to face Glasgow a fortnight ago, has been struggling with a thigh strain, while Nagle picked up a shoulder issue in pre-season.

Star out-half Johnny Sexton, who made his first start of the season against Ospreys last week, came through the game unscathed.

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