Caolin Blade, born on 29 April 1994, is an Irish professional rugby union player who primarily plays as a scrum-half. He is currently associated with the United Rugby Championship club Connacht and represents the Ireland national team.
Blade grew up in Monivea, a village in County Galway, Ireland. He attended Athenry Vocational School in nearby Athenry. Apart from rugby, Blade also participated in Gaelic football and hurling at the under-age level. His family has a strong rugby background, with his father and brother also playing as scrum-halves.
Blade began his rugby journey with the local junior club Monivea, where he played alongside his father and brother. In 2013, he joined the Connacht academy and started playing for Connacht's second-tier side, the Connacht Eagles. In the same season, Blade made his senior team debut as a replacement in a match against the Ospreys, which concluded the 2013-14 season.
Over the following seasons, Blade started featuring more regularly for the senior team. He made his European debut in a Rugby Challenge Cup game against the Exeter Chiefs on 25 October 2015. Blade earned his first start for the senior team on 13 December 2014, scoring two tries in a comeback victory against Bayonne in France. During the 2014-15 Pro12, he made one appearance as a replacement against Leinster. In total, Blade made one league appearance and five in the Challenge Cup that season.
In January 2015, Blade signed his first full contract with Connacht, securing his place in the senior team from the 2015-16 season until summer 2017. He continued to represent Connacht and signed a one-year contract extension in October 2016. As of the 2018-19 Pro14 season, Blade had played 48 times in the competition for Connacht.
Blade has also represented Ireland at various age-grade levels. He played for the under-18 clubs side and later went on to represent the under-19 team. In January 2019, Blade was included in the senior Ireland squad for the 2019 Six Nations tournament. He made his debut for the Ireland senior side as a substitute in a 71-10 victory over the United States on 10 July 2021.
In February 2020, Blade signed a new two-year contract with Connacht, extending his stay at the club until the summer of 2022. As of June 2020, he had accumulated 111 appearances for Connacht since his debut in 2014.
|2014 - present
|2022 - present
|2022 - 2022
|2021 - 2023