Wednesday 7 December 2016

'He could transform Irish rugby': One pundit can't wait until Connacht star is Irish qualified

Published 24/05/2016 | 08:01

Bundee Aki's all-action performances for Connacht on their way to a first ever Pro12 final have been staggering to behold and for one Irish pundit, the qualities shown by the project player could help bring Ireland to the 'next level.'

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Aki signed for Connacht in the summer of 2014, but after an injury-ravaged first season in the west he has kicked on remarkably in this campaign. His destructive one-two punch in the centre with Robbie Henshaw has caused huge problems for opposition defences, and it's a partnership that Donal Lenihan thinks could make Ireland massively successful.

Aki will become Irish qualified in the summer of 2017, and speaking on Against The Head on RTE last night, Lenihan spoke very highly of the impact he could make in Joe Schmidt's side.

"I'm not a fan of the three year residency rule," Lenihan began.

"But he could transform Irish rugby. He could bring us to the next level. Could you imagine him outside Johnny Sexton?"

Read more: Connacht behemoth Bundee Aki posts classy message after monster carry injures Glasgow duo

Aki was chosen as the Man of the Match after Connacht's 16-11 win in the Pro12 semi-final last Saturday evening, as the westerners advanced to a final showdown with Leinster, which will take place at Murrayfield this weekend.

The inside centre was recently awarded the Pro12 Player's Player of the Year award to mark his stellar league season and will line up against fellow antipodean Ben Te'o on Saturday evening in what should be an extremely physical final match-up.

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