Bundee Aki has been promoted to a wholly funded IRFU central contract to keep him playing for Ireland and Connacht until the end of the 2022/23 season. 


The New Zealander, first capped by Ireland in November 2017 after qualifying under residency, had been linked with a possible move abroad but those fears have now been extinguished.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity I have been given to represent both Connacht and Ireland and am delighted to extend my IRFU contract,” said Aki, whose World Cup with Ireland in Japan ended in disaster as he was red-carded against Samoa and banned for the quarter-final defeat to New Zealand.

“The whole of Connacht have been incredibly supportive of both me and my family and the Ireland supporters have been fantastic since I was selected for the national squad. I want to play my part in helping Connacht achieve their ambitious plans in the years to come.”

The 29-year-old first signed for Connacht in 2014 and played a key role in the province securing the 2016 PRO12 title. He signed a provincial contract extension that winter taking him through to summer 2020, but having since made his name on the Test circuit, he now becomes one of the IRFU’s most cherished assets. 

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“Bundee has added significant value to both the Ireland and Connacht environments,” said David Nucifora, the IRFU performance director.

“He has performed at a consistently high level, is a leader and has a positive impact on younger players around him with his insight and the professionalism and diligence of his preparation. We are delighted that he will continue to play a positive role in Irish rugby for years to come.”

Aki made his international debut against South Africa in November 2017 and has gone on to win 23 Ireland caps, scoring four tries.

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