Connacht have added antipodean strength to their ranks after completing deals to sign Australian sevens player Ben O'Donnell and Bay of Plenty number eight Abraham Papali’i. 

O’Donnell has played 95 matches for his country and racked up 47 tries since he was handed his sevens debut in 2017 by current Connacht coach Andy Friend.

The 24-year-old was voted Australian Sevens Player of the Year in 2018 and subsequently went on to be the first Australian player ever nominated for the World Sevens Player of the Year.

Papali’i arrives from Bay of Plenty, where the 27-year-old was a key member of the squad that won the Mitre 10 Cup Championship last year, and previously spent a stint in Europe with French rugby league side Lezignan Sangliers. 

"I am delighted to welcome Ben and Abraham to Connacht Rugby," Friend said of the new additions. 

"I got to know Ben very well on the Australian sevens scene. It did not surprise me that he went on to become such an important player for them and I am thrilled that he has chosen to join Connacht. 

"Abraham is a powerful number eight, who has all the attributes to become a really valuable player for us while furthering our options in the back row.

"I know every Connacht supporter will be excited to see what he can offer.

"Today’s announcement comes on the back of discussions that started a number of months ago and we are delighted to eventually be able to share this exciting news with all of our supporters today. 

"These signings bring our squad up to 43 players for next season. We have freshened up and added depth to our squad in a number of key areas, having signed a healthy blend of young exciting players who have come through our academy system, as well as bringing in some additional quality and experience from further afield. 

"We are an ambitious group, and I firmly believe we have all the tools we need to kick on to the next level and achieve success in what is going to be a really exciting season." 

The new recruits will link up with the squad before the start of the next Guinness Pro14 season.