Connacht retain high-profile duo

Date published: October 25 2016

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Connacht announced the contract renewals of senior players, centre Bundee Aki and second-row Ultan Dillane, in a boost for the province.

Dillane graduated from the Connacht Academy in 2015 and made his international debut for Ireland in the 2016 Six Nations when he was called on as a replacement against England at Twickenham. He has signed a two-year extension to his current deal.

The 22-year-old made a further four appearances in the Ireland shirt including two test matches against the Springboks during the summer tour of South Africa.

Dillane said he was excited about furthering his career with Connacht. 

"Connacht Rugby has given me so many opportunities since I started in the Academy and I'm delighted to have signed on again. I am enjoying my rugby so much here and am excited about the future of this team and the province."

While Aki has signed a three-year extension to bring his stay at Connacht up to June 2020. Since arriving in 2014, the centre has made 47 appearances for Connacht and was instrumental in the province's PRO12 title success last season.

Aki said he has thoroughly enjoyed his tenure at the club.

"The last two years with Connacht Rugby have been incredible. I moved over here not really knowing what to expect but this place has become home to me and my family now. I am proud to be part of this Connacht team and I'm excited to see what we can achieve together."

Connacht Head Coach Pat Lam said that it was testament to the atmosphere and organisation of the club that both players were keen to stay on.

"I'm really pleased that Bundee and Ultan have committed their futures to Connacht. Two talented rugby players, naturally their performances have attracted a lot of attention and there is no doubt that they had options in terms of where they could play," Lam said.

"But I believe it is a massive statement about what we are doing here as a team and an organisation that they were both so determined to continue to play their part."

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