Planet Rugby

Chiefs' Aki targets Ireland selection

14th April 2014 18:30

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Ambition: Bundee Aki

New Connacht signing Bundee Aki has targeted playing Test rugby for Ireland after moving from the Chiefs on a three-year deal.

Aki, 24, surprised many last week when his move to the Irish province was announced.

Eligible to play for New Zealand or Samoa, the centre has won two Super Rugby titles with the Chiefs over the last two years.

Now set to ply his trade in the west of Ireland, Aki admits the prospect of playing Test rugby for Ireland played a substantial role in his decision.

"That's a big part of my decision to move," Aki told Fairfax News.

"Hopefully when the time is right and if I'm playing good footy, hopefully I can play for the Ireland international team.

"I've got to play well before that though. I'm eligible for Samoa.

"That was another big decision for myself - to see if I would play for them or not. If I play three years over there and it doesn't go well, I can always go back to Samoa.

"They are a good international team as well but I'm just trying to look after my family and myself."

Leaving New Zealand behind is something Aki admits will not be easy, but the depth of quality available to New Zealand including the return of Sonny Bill Williams were factors that he considered before deciding to move.

"It was a really tough decision," added Aki.

"It's a long commitment. I put a lot of thought into it, looking at my options in terms of international rugby.

"Obviously the All Blacks have got their midfielders and with Sonny coming back, it's a not a bad thing for me to go. Hopefully, if I do the hard yards over there, good things will come.

"It will be different for us as a family but we'll enjoy it when we get there."

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