Connacht have confirmed the signing of Irish-qualified South African back Shayne Bolton.

The 20-year-old, whose grandmother is from Dublin, can play at centre or anywhere across the back three.

Bolton represented the University of Free State in the Varsity Cup and also played in the U21 SA Championship.

Connacht head coach Andy Friend said: "After we learned of Shayne's availability and his Irish ancestry, we kept an eye on his progression and did some further work to confirm his playing ability.

"It quickly became apparent that he was the type of player that could add real value to our squad.

"He has been turning heads in South Africa with his recent performances and, while he’s still only 20 years of age, he has all the attributes to become a top-class professional player.

"Players with versatility are a key component we look for in our squad mix, and Shayne fits that category perfectly.

"He started off at full-back and on the wing before moving to centre 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 said he realised opportunity to join Connacht was one he "had to take" following conversations with Friend and team manager Tim Allnutt.

"They spoke about how they pride themselves in developing players and I immediately felt that Connacht was the right place to take my game to the next level," said Bolton.

"I can’t wait to reconnect with my Irish roots and get ready for the season ahead."