Standing against the All Blacks, the center faces its home country on Saturday. He will notably meet against him, Brody Ritalik, his teammate with the Chiefs with whom he won Super Rugby in 2013.
Bundy Aki hears the New Zealand anthem ring in Dublin with great emotion. Born in Auckland, the player of Samoan descent is the youngest of seven children. Bundee Aki arrived on Irish soil in 2014, taking his first steps with the XV of Clover jersey in 2017 against South Africa. However, he could have chosen to choose New Zealand.
Beginnings in New Zealand
In 2011, at the age of 21, Bundi Aki joined the Manukau Districts, a team from New Zealand’s districts. Effectively, the three-quarters center of Samoan descent finished among the top players in the ITM Cup (the provincial championship in New Zealand) in 2012. Thus, he left the provinces of Manukau to join the Waikato leaders at the top level, Super Rugby. In 2013, he was very ambitious to start a season at the highest level for the first time in New Zealand. Strong, Bundee Aki will score 5 attempts in 15 matches and win the title at the end of the season. But the Auckland native will leave New Zealand in 2014 to join the Connacht team in Ireland.
«I just thought at the time that it was a good time to move on, and do something different» Confided Bundee Aki in 2016 in Irish Times. The massive New Zealand center (1.81 m, 101 kg) immediately became the main man of the Irish team in Connacht. In the first year he will start in 28 matches in all the competitions his team will play. While traveling to Europe, Bundy Akie learned that he was drawing a line on All Black’s shirt. “I’m not going to lie, it was my ambition to be all black, but sometimes you have to see what reality is and where you want to beHe continued in the columns of the Irish newspaper. Also in Connacht, Bundy Aki owes a lot to his adopted country, Ireland. It was this nation that allowed him to make his debut with the national team.
First pick in 2017
November 11 will be forever etched in the memory of Bondi Aki. The three-quarters centre, adopted by an entire country, celebrated the first choice of his career in front of the Irish fans at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. A native of the New Zealand archipelago will wait three years before wearing the XV du Trèfle jersey, according to Word Rugby’s eligibility rules. His appearance under the Irish jacket would have sparked some controversy. As part of the “Project Player” (a foreign player eligible to play for selection after three years of residence in the country in which he is developing), Bundee Aki’s performance did not go unnoticed for his former coach Joe Schmidt.
From there to the possibility of choice, an opinion shared by Conor Murray and Tommy Poe before Bundee Aki debuted with Ireland. “He came here and legally met the eligibility requirements, Bundee did nothing wrong and we are lucky to have him with usIrish Half Scrum Conor Murray said. Playing as a winger, Tommy Poe admitted that it could be annoying for an Irish player. “It is never easy to lose your place to a foreign player or foreigner, so always give your best‘ He told the newspaper Irish Independent.
Despite this controversy, Bundee Aki is long-standing with Ireland and is preparing to meet New Zealand in front of his fans. Hoping to play a terrible trick on the All Blacks.