Connacht have signed the former New Zealand Sevens international Pita Ahki.

The signing came after Connacht pulled out of signing Fijian international Eroni Vasiteri after the player received a nine-week ban for eye gouging.

The incident occurred during a game between the Canberra Vikings and Fijian in the National Rugby Championship at the end of September. Vasiteri had agreed to sign for Connacht on a one-year deal and he was due to join the team in the coming week.

However, earlier this week the team released a statement saying, “Connacht Rugby can confirm that following discussions with Eroni Vasiteri it has been agreed by both parties that Vasiteri’s planned move to Connacht will not now proceed. Due to a recent suspension Vasiteri would not have been in a position to proceed with the move until later in the season.”

Ahki has now been signed to fill his place. He has played Super Rugby with the Blues and the Hurricanes and will be making the move to Connacht in the coming weeks.

Kieran Keane, the Connacht head coach said, “Pita is a highly-rated young player who has played Super Rugby for the Blues and the Hurricanes. He is a strong pacey player who will add to our attacking options. I think he will fit in well at Connacht and I am delighted to be welcoming him to the province.”

In 2013 Ahki won a World Cup Sevens medal and helped New Zealand win silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

After announcing the signing Ahki said, “I am really excited about my move to Connacht. I am looking forward to the prospect of playing European and PRO14 rugby. Connacht have developed a huge reputation as a proud club with community central to everything they do. I can’t wait to join up with the squad and meet the Sportsground crowd.”