Thursday 18 January 2018

Bundee Aki has no idea if he will declare for Ireland

Connacht's Bundee Aki. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Connacht's Bundee Aki. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Bundee Aki may have committed his future to Connacht before Pat Lam announced his departure from the Sportsground, but the Pro12 player of the season remains coy about his international future.

The 26-year old is eligible to play for New Zealand, Samoa and, from later this year, Ireland, but he is in no rush to make a commitment despite signing a three-year contract extension to remain at the Sportsground. That was before Lam announced he was leaving at the end of the season, invoking a six-month notice clause which allowed him to depart a year before his contract is up.

Connacht chief executive Willie Ruane says none of the players have such a release clause in their contracts.

Aki, out until next month with an ankle injury, didn't hide his frustration when he became aware of Lam's shock decision to leave, tweeting that he was 'feeling p****d' after being told.

The centre had since admitted he may have over-reacted and that he is adjusting to what life will be like at Connacht when Lam leaves for Bristol at the end of the season. But Aki is reluctant at this stage to declare for Ireland or be distracted by events outside Connacht.

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"I literally do not know what I want to do at the end of the season, or who I want to play for. First off, I need to make sure that Connacht do well," he said.

Aki's barnstorming performances were key to Connacht's historic success last season and other than sitting out a trip to Treviso, he featured in each of the other 23 games on their march to Pro12 glory, scoring six tries in the process.

Irish Independent

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