Caolin Blade (born 29 April 1994) is a professional rugby union player from Ireland. He primarily plays as a scrum-half. Blade currently plays for Irish provincial side Connacht in the Pro14, having signed a senior contract ahead of the 2015–16 season.
|Date of birth||29 April 1994|
|Place of birth||Galway, Ireland|
|Height||1.71 m (5 ft 7 1⁄2 in)|
|Weight||84 kg (13 st 3 lb)|
|School||Athenry Vocational School|
|Rugby union career|
Blade grew up in Monivea, a village in County Galway. He attended Athenry Vocational School in nearby Athenry. In addition to rugby, Blade also played Gaelic football and hurling at under-age level.
Blade started out in rugby with local junior club Monivea, where his father and brother have also played at scrum-half. He played with them until 2013, moving to All-Ireland League club Galwegians after entering Connacht's academy.
Having already played for the province's second tier side, the Connacht Eagles, Blade joined Connacht's academy at the start of the 2013–14 season. Blade largely featured for the Eagles throughout the year but made his debut for the senior team in the final game of the season, coming on as a replacement in 45–20 defeat to the Ospreys.
In his second year, Blade featured for the senior team more regularly. He made his European debut in a 2014–15 Rugby Challenge Cup game against Exeter Chiefs on 25 October 2015. Blade made his first start for the senior team on 13 December 2014, playing against Bayonne in France. Despite head coach Pat Lam having changed the entire starting team, Connacht came from behind to win 27–29, with Blade scoring two tries, his first scores for the province. He came on as a replacement against Irish rivals Leinster a week later, his only appearance in the 2014–15 Pro12. In total, Blade made one league appearance and five in the Challenge Cup, with all but one of these coming from the bench.
In January 2015, it was announced that Blade had signed his first full contract with Connacht, a deal that sees him join the senior team ahead of the 2015–16 season and runs until summer 2017. He made his first appearance of the season on an away trip to Enisei STM, a team based in Siberia.
Blade was named in the Ireland squad for the opening rounds of the 2019 Six Nations.
- "Blade And Masterson Join Connacht Academy". Irish Rugby. 24 October 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- "Another Connacht rugby star on the rise". Tuam Herald. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
this versatile young sportsman who had already shown exciting promise in under-age Gaelic football and hurling.
- "Defeat For Munster In Connacht". Munster Rugby. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
Caolin Blade (Monivea);
- "Firsts 44 – Highfield 3". Galwegians RFC. 23 November 2013. Archived from the original on 21 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- "Hooker Heffernan To Start For Connacht". Irish Rugby. 9 May 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- "Pro12: Ospreys 45-20 Connacht". BBC Sport. 10 May 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- "Player Archive: Caolin Blade". European Professional Club Rugby.
- "Blade cuts deep as Connacht claim brilliant win away to Bayonne". The42. 13 December 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- "Noel Reid shines at 12 in Leinster win over Pat Lam's Connacht". The42. 19 December 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- "Connacht Squad Index: Caolin Blade". Pro12.
- "Connacht Half-Backs Sign New Deals". Irish Rugby. 28 January 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- "Ireland U-18 Schools Side Beat Clubs' Counterparts". Irish Rugby. 2 January 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- "Six Changes For Ireland Under-19s". Irish Rugby. 5 April 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2015.