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Bundee Aki set to sign new contract to stay with Connacht

The 26-year-old has been attracting major interest but is set to stay in Galway.

BUNDEE AKI IS set to sign a new contract with Connacht to keep him at the western province beyond next summer.

Bundee Aki celebrates Aki celebrates last season's Pro12 title success. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The New Zealand native joined Connacht in 2014 on a three-year deal and was a central figure in their drive to a remarkable Guinness Pro12 title last season.

While interest in Aki away has been understandably high in France, England and elsewhere in Ireland, sources close to Connacht have confirmed to The42 that the 26-year-old is set to sign a new contract.

An announcement may even be made in the next fortnight, in a major boost to Pat Lam’s squad.

A new contract would also bring Aki into future contention for Ireland, as he will qualify in October of 2017 under the current World Rugby residency laws, which state that any player who spends 36 consecutive months living in a country may represent them in international rugby.

Lam signed Aki from the Chiefs and Counties Manukau two years ago, and the dynamic centre has become a talisman for the province, as well as one of the best rugby players in the country.

Aki has been a major leader for Connacht on and off the pitch in the last two seasons, with his explosive qualities and work rate also making him a firm fan favourite.

Confirmation of a new contract for Aki would be another major boost for Irish rugby, following on from today’s announcement that Joe Schmidt has extended his deal as national team coach through until the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

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Murray Kinsella

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