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New Connacht deal for Irish hopeful Aki

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 25/10/2016

Bundee Aki has edged closer to Test rugby with Ireland by rejecting a move to France to sign a new Connacht deal until 2020.

Auckland-born powerhouse Aki is understood to have rejected moves to Bordeaux and Munster to sign a three-year contract extension and will now qualify for Ireland on residency next year.

Lock Ultan Dillane has also signed a new deal with the reigning PRO12 champions.

"I'm really pleased that Bundee and Ultan have committed their futures to Connacht Rugby," said head coach Lam, admitting both stars had fielded offers to move elsewhere.

"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.

"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."

Former Chiefs centre Aki has lit up Connacht's back division with his powerful line-breaking instincts since his 2014 arrival.

The 26-year-old will add a bullish midfield edge to Ireland's Test options once available next year after completing the three-year residency period.

Aki insisted he now calls Connacht home after two years in the west of Ireland.

"The last two years with Connacht Rugby have been incredible," said Aki.

"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."

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