Sunday 22 July 2018

Aki eager to keep the dream alive

Bundee Aki during squad training at the Sportsground in Galway. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Bundee Aki during squad training at the Sportsground in Galway. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

Ireland centre Bundee Aki expects more big games in the weeks to come as Connacht seek to keep their European campaign alive with victory over Gloucester tomorrow.

A win in tomorrow's Challenge Cup quarter-final at the Sportsground will qualify the province for their fourth European semi-final, but they have yet to reach a final, although Aki is hopeful of adding another significant achievement to his burgeoning cv.

This year's Grand Slam glory with Ireland in the Six Nations and victory in the 2016 Pro12 final with Connacht over Leinster have been huge rewards for his time in the northern hemisphere, while a Super Rugby title with Chiefs was earned in 2013.

Just back on Monday after a rest week, Aki is excited by tomorrow's challenge.

"I think we will have a few more big games coming along, but this one is one of the important ones this week," said Aki.

"We're looking forward to the challenge and Gloucester are a great team and they are playing really well so hopefully we can do our job here at home and come up with the result."

And Aki will come up against some familiar opponents when Gloucester come to town, with former Chiefs team-mates Tom Marshall and Josh Hohneck likely to start.

Great

"Yes I know Tom, he's a great player. KK (Kieran Keane) used to coach him a fair bit back at home and I played with him at the Chiefs," he said.

"He is a world-class player and I thought he would be doing really well in New Zealand. I thought he would be called up. I think he is playing well over in Gloucester.

"It's going to be a big challenge for us but I'm sure we can stick to the plan and do the job."

Irish Independent

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