Sale Sharks will sign fly-half AJ MacGinty from Pro12 side Connacht at the end of the season
The fly-half will join as a replacement for Wasps-bound Danny Cipriani
He has scored two tries in nine league appearances for Pro12 leaders Connacht
Sale Sharks have moved to fill the gap left by star fly-half Danny Cipriani’s move to Wasps this summer by completing the signing of Connacht and American stand-off AJ MacGinty.
The 26-year-old fly-half, who is a comparable playmaking number 10 to Cipriani, has been in outstanding form for the Irish province this season, helping them unexpectedly head to the top of the Pro 12.
Sale had been linked with several star names such as Stephen Myler, Toby Flood and Rhys Priestland as potential replacements for Cipriani but after learning about the young Irishmen’s availability moved swiftly to obtain his services.
Dublin-born MacGinty only joined Connacht in October but his quota spot will be taken from next season by South African fly-half Marnitz Boshoff, who is to join from Lions.
Sale boss Steve Diamond said: “We were alerted to AJ during the World Cup and we have been watching his performances at Connacht.
“Connacht coach Pat Lam and I had a chat about things – under Irish rugby regulations you can’t have two foreign players in the same position,” Diamond added.
“He played for USA at the World Cup and although he’s got an Irish passport he can’t play for the national team so they can’t contract him beyond this year.”
“He is by far the best fly-half in the PRO12; great in defence and has an 80 percent success rate kicking his points.
“I am sure that when he works with Paul Deacon here at Sharks he will become the finished article. He will be great addition to the squad and we are looking forward to AJ joining us pre-season.”
MacGinty said: “I am very excited to be joining Sale Sharks next season. They are a club with great ambitions and I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead.
“I have really enjoyed my time at Connacht and would like to thank all the coaches, players, fans and staff for their support. In particular, I would like to express my gratitude to Pat Lam and I look forward to finishing the season as strong as possible.”