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Finlay Bealham

Finlay Bealham
Birth nameFinlay Harry Bealham
Date of birth (1991-10-09) 9 October 1991 (age 27)
Place of birthCanberra, Australia
Height1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight123 kg (19 st 5 lb; 271 lb)
SchoolSt Edmund's College
Notable relative(s)Gordon Ferris (great-uncle)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Prop
Current team Connacht
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2010–2011
2011–
Belfast Harlequins
Galway Corinthians
()
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
2014– Connacht 100 (15)
Correct as of 27 May 2017
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2011
2015–
2016–
Ireland U20
Emerging Ireland
Ireland
4
2
8
(0)
(5)
(0)
Correct as of 3 November 2018

Finlay Bealham (born 9 October 1991) is an Australian-born Irish rugby union player. He primarily plays as a prop, and can play at both tighthead and loosehead. Bealham represents Ireland at international level, qualifying to play for them through his grandmother from Enniskillen in Northern Ireland. Bealham currently plays his club rugby for Irish provincial team Connacht Rugby in the Pro14 league. Through his grandmother, Bealham is related to Northern Irish heavyweight boxer Gordon Ferris.[1]

Early life

Bealham grew up in Canberra. He attended St Edmund's College in the city. He played rugby league at a young age before concentrating solely on union from the age of 16.[1] Despite being selected for the Australian schools side and representing their 'A' side, Bealham was not given a spot in the Brumbies academy and instead moved to Ireland to start his professional career. [2]

Rugby career

Club

Bealham moved to Ireland in 2010 and initially played in his grandmother's native province of Ulster with the amateur side, Belfast Harlequins.[3] Following the 2011 Junior World Cup, he was offered a place in the academy of Connacht, another province. Moving to the new province also meant moving clubs, with Bealham joining Galway Corinthians. Bealham was promoted from the sub-academy to the full academy ahead of the 2012–13 season.[4]

While in the academy Bealham played for the province's second tier side, the Connacht Eagles. Bealham made his full debut for Connacht in the 2013–14 Pro12 on 23 February 2014. He came on from the bench away to Italian side Zebre, replacing Denis Buckley at loosehead on the 74 minute mark.[5] Bealham went on to make a further five replacement appearances in the Pro12 that season.[6] In April 2014, it was announced that Bealham had signed a professional contract with the province to last until summer 2015, making him a full member of Connacht's senior squad.[7]

In the 2014–15 season Bealham was moved from loosehead to play tighthead by Connacht forwards coach Dan McFarland.[1] Despite the change, he continued to play regularly for the side, as he had at the end of the previous season. Bealham made his European debut on 6 December 2014, coming on from the bench in the home game to Bayonne in the Challenge Cup pool stages.[8] He made his first start in the reverse fixture the following week.[9] Bealham made his first league start on 26 December 2014 against Ulster.[10] During the course of the season he played 15 games in the 2014–15 Pro12,[6] and made a total of five appearances in the Challenge Cup.[11] He also featured in Connacht's final game of the season, a play-off against Gloucester which they lost 40–32 after extra time.[12] During the course of the season, Bealham signed a new two-year deal to keep him with the province until summer 2017.[13]

Bealham was again a key part of Connacht's squad for the 2015–16 season, being the only player to feature in all 31 of the team's games in the league and in Europe.[14] He started 13 of these games, and scored his first try for the team against Munster on 16 April 2016.[6][11][15] On 28 May 2016, Bealham started in the Pro12 Grand Final as Connacht won 20–10 against Irish rivals and reigning champions Leinster to claim the team's first major trophy in their 121-year history.[16]

Ahead of the 2016–17 season, Bealham signed a contract extension to keep him in Galway until 2019.[17]

International

Bealham was selected to play for the Australian schools team in 2009. He featured for the team's 'A' side against Tonga and New Zealand.[1][2]

After becoming aware of his qualification to play for Ireland, Bealham became involved in the country's youth set-up through the Irish Exiles program. Having previously represented the Australia Schools 'A' side against New Zealand in 2009, he made his debut for Ireland Under-20s against Italy in the 2011 Six Nations Under 20s Championship.[18] Later that year, Bealham was part of the Irish squad for the 2011 IRB Junior World Championship.[3] He made a total of four appearances for the side, three of these coming as a replacement.[19]

Bealham was part of the Emerging Ireland squad for the 2015 Tbilisi Cup.[20] He played in two of the team's fixtures, replacing Stephen Archer in the games against Emerging Italy and Georgia, scoring a try in the latter.[21][22]

In January 2016, Bealham was called up to Ireland's squad for the Six Nations to replace the injured Marty Moore.[23] After Cian Healy injured his hamstring, Bealham was promoted to the bench for the game against Italy.[24] On 12 March 2016, 65 minutes into the game, he replaced Jack McGrath for his debut.[25] Bealham was named in the Irish squad for the team's 2016 tour to South Africa, where he was named on the bench for all three tests, coming on as a 59th minute replacement for Tadhg Furlong in the second.[26][27]

References

  1. ^ a b c d "'Giving up rugby league was a gamble but it paid off'". Irish Independent. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Australia A Schools 2009 player Finlay Bealham called into Ireland Six Nations". Australian Schools Rugby. 27 January 2016. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Ireland U-20 Squad Named For Junior World Championship". Irish Rugby. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  4. ^ "Connacht Academy Boasts New Recruits". Irish Rugby. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Pro12: Zebre 19-27 Connacht". BBC Sport. 23 February 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  6. ^ a b c "Connacht Squad Index: Finlay Bealham". Pro12.
  7. ^ "Connacht Reward Five Players With New Deals". Irish Rugby. 16 April 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  8. ^ "Five-Try Triumph Sees Connacht Maintain Unbeaten Home Run". Irish Rugby. 6 December 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Connacht fight back to stun Bayonne". RTÉ Sport. 13 December 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Gilroy gets Ulster over the line against Connacht". Pro12. 26 December 2014. Archived from the original on 26 September 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Player Archive: Finlay Bealham". European Professional Club Rugby.
  12. ^ "Champions Cup play-off: Gloucester 40-32 Connacht". BBC Sport. 24 May 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  13. ^ "Connacht Props Pen New Two-Year Deals". Irish Rugby. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Bealham signs three-year contract extension". The42. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  15. ^ "'It was my first meat pie for Connacht' - Bealham flourishing up front for Lam's men". The42. 17 April 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  16. ^ "Connacht make history with epic victory over Leinster in Pro 12 final". Irish Independent. 28 May 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  17. ^ "Bealham signs contract extension to 2019 with Connacht Rugby". Pro12. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  18. ^ "Young Exiles Named In Ireland U-20 Team". Irish Rugby. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  19. ^ "Ireland Under Squad Profiles: Finlay Bealham". Irish Rugby. 26 June 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  20. ^ "Emerging Ireland Squad Named For Tbilisi Cup". Irish Rugby. 19 May 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  21. ^ "Emerging Ireland Off The Mark With Bonus Point Win". Irish Rugby. 13 June 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  22. ^ "Billy Holland scare mars Irish win". Irish Examiner. 22 June 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  23. ^ "Finlay Bealham called up for injured Marty Moore but Johnny Sexton fears ease". RTÉ Sport. 25 January 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  24. ^ "Finlay Bealham ready to step up to the plate as Cian Healy ruled out". Irish Independent. 11 March 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  25. ^ "Rampant Ireland cut loose to crush Italians". RTÉ Sport. 12 March 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  26. ^ "Two Uncapped Players Named For Summer Tour". Irish Rugby. 25 May 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  27. ^ "Heartbreak for Ireland as Springboks come back from the dead to level series". Irish Independent. 18 June 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.

External links