Bundee Aki to leave Chiefs, signs for Connacht

LIAM NAPIER
Last updated 05:00 13/04/2014
Bundee Aki
Photosport
GAME CHANGER: Bundee Aki celebrates after scoring for the Chiefs against the Crusaders.

Relevant offers

Super Rugby

Crusaders midfielder Havili set for date with Sanzaar judiciary Hurricanes need to do the dirty jobs well to progress in Super Rugby Sanzaar judicary kept busy as Jaguares players lose their cool in Super Rugby David Havili cited for foul play, Ryan Crotty issued warning Crusaders wear down Blues to take Super Rugby pole position Brumbies smash Super Rugby strugglers Sunwolves Recap: Brumbies v Sunwolves - Super Rugby round 14 Crusaders make enough progress to show Super Rugby glory days will return Recap: Blues v Crusaders - Super Rugby round 14 Chiefs coach Dave Rennie questions fairness of Super Rugby format

Chiefs and Counties Manukau second five-eighth Bundee Aki will depart New Zealand after the NPC season. 

The 24-year-old, who burst on to the All Blacks' radar last year, is understood to have signed a three-year deal with Pat Lam's Irish club Connacht. 

Aki has been indentified as a "project player" and while eligable for Samoa, he hopes to eventually qualify for Ireland under residency rules.

This trend is expected to continue from the Celtic clubs in an effort to compete with the French riches.

Aki's exit will be keenly felt with depth in the midfield a concern. 

He will be in good Kiwi company on the west coast of Ireland as the New Zealand contingent at Connacht grows. Last year former Chiefs captain Craig Clarke joined the Irish province to add more Kiwi grunt to the forwards alongside Nathan White and Rodney Ah You. 

By far the weakest of Ireland's four provinces, in terms of funding and playing talent, Lam has turned around a season that looked to be headed in a wooden spoon direction.

The former Blues coach has managed to bring his team to a respectable mid-table position in the Rabo Pro 12, while also masterminding a stunning defeat of European aristocrats Toulouse on French soil in the Heineken Cup. 

Ad Feedback

- Fairfax Media

Special offers
Opinion poll

Which 2015 NZ Super Rugby team looks best?

Blues

Chiefs

Crusaders

Highlanders

Hurricanes

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content