World Rugby Player of the Year nominee and Ireland star Bundee Aki has put pen to paper on a deal with Connacht and the IRFU until the end of the 2024/25 campaign.
Centre Aki, who joined Connacht in 2014 from the Chiefs in New Zealand after tasting Super Rugby title success, was an instant hit at the Sportsground in Galway.
He made an immediate impact in the green shirt, helping Connacht win the PRO12 in 2016 and went on to make his Ireland Test bow against South Africa in 2017.
Superb form at Rugby World Cup
In 52 Ireland appearances to date he has scored 15 tries and has backed that up with a British &Irish Lions tour to go with 127 appearances for Connacht thus far.
“Playing in Ireland means the world to me and I am delighted to sign a contract extension with the IRFU and Connacht,” said Aki after the deal was announced.
“Since moving to Galway nine years ago, Ireland has become a home from home and I am incredibly grateful to my coaches, teammates and supporters for making my family and I so welcome here.
“We’ve made great friends and incredible memories together and I am excited about the talent that is coming through across the country. I believe that there are more great days to come in the green of Connacht and Ireland and I am hugely excited about what the future holds.”
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) October 27, 2023
IRFU High Performance Director David Nucifora commented: “The IRFU is committing to developing and retaining high quality players and we are delighted that Bundee has agreed this contract extension, coming so soon after a string of impressive displays for Ireland at the Rugby World Cup.
“Bundee is a hugely popular player who has given an enormous amount to both Connacht and Irish rugby over a long period of time and we are all thrilled he has committed to this contract extension.”
Connacht head coach Pete Wilkins was understandably delighted to lock in the centre on a fresh contract, labelling Aki as “one of the best players” on the planet.
Aki committed to Connacht
“Bundee has made a huge contribution to Connacht Rugby over the almost 10 years that he has been here,” he said.
“He is one of the best players in world rugby and his performances at the Rugby World Cup were further evidence of that, so we are obviously delighted that he has chosen to continue his future with the Connacht and Ireland.
“Bundee’s commitment to Connacht reflects not just the passion he has for this province but also the belief that he has in this club. We look forward to welcoming him back after his much needed break and I have no doubt every Connacht fan will show him how much he means to us all when he next runs out at the Sportsground.”