Saturday 3 December 2016

Aki, Bealham and Healy vie for award

Daragh Small

Published 05/02/2016 | 02:30

Connacht's Bundee Aki is in contention to win the Sekio January Player of the Month award Photo: Sportsfile
Connacht's Bundee Aki is in contention to win the Sekio January Player of the Month award Photo: Sportsfile

The Hartmanns of Galway and Seiko Watches January Player of the Month award is up for grabs with Bundee Aki, Finlay Bealham and Matt Healy all in contention.

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The candidates were nominated by the players and management, and the fans are able to vote for their choice on the Connacht Rugby Facebook page.

January did not start well for Connacht, but comprehensive victories over Enisei-STM and Scarlets were the ideal conclusion to their 16-week block of fixtures.

Connacht lost 13-0 to Leinster at the RDS on New Year's Day, and then succumbed to a last-ditch penalty in Parc y Scarlets, where Scarlets won 21-19. Another last-minute penalty in Brive saw the French win 21-18 in the Challenge Cup.

That looked to have put a big dent in Connacht's European ambitions, but an eight-try 47-5 victory over Enisei-STM coupled with Newcastle Falcons' win over Brive meant the Westerners went through.

Connacht followed that up with last weekend's impressive bonus point 30-17 win at home to Scarlets, to go back second in the Pro12.

Centre Aki played in all five games as he continues to build a big reputation for himself at the Sportsground. He has now made 30 appearances and scored three tries since he arrived from Auckland Blues last season.

Prop Bealham has been the pillar of the Connacht scrum, and received a call-up to the Irish squad for the Six Nations. He can play on both sides of the front-row, and also featured in all of the January fixtures.

Former Lansdowne wing Healy has bagged six tries this season. He notched two in the win over Enisei-STM and played in all five games last month.

Irish Independent

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