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Dublin: 10°C Tuesday 20 April 2021

'He's in great nick': KK backs Aki to shine at 12 for Ireland

The Kiwi also had words of consolation for Tiernan O’Halloran after his omission.

Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

CONNACHT HEAD COACH Kieran Keane says that Bundee Aki is primed to make an immediate impact with Ireland.

The 27-year old is poised to make his Test debut in the coming weeks after qualifying to play for Ireland under the three-year residency rule and Keane reckons he’s fired-up to hit the ground running on the international scene.

“I think he will do well, I think he is great nick and a great frame of mind,” Keane said after the westerners’ win over Munster.

“Possibly see him at 12 rather than 13. From my perspective he probably suits that better but we play him at 13 for other reasons.”

Keane has just three players in the Irish squad — scrum-half Kieran Marmion and lock Ultan Dillane — but remains hopeful that full-back Tiernan O’Halloran will get a recall.

O’Halloran doubled his Irish caps to six when by featuring in all three summer tour matches in the United States and Japan. The Galway man was a surprise omission from the squad last week, but Keane said he should not despair.

Connacht’s Tiernan O'Halloran Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“I don’t know much about the opposition up against Tiernan. But Tiernan had a tough start to the competition, he hasn’t played much rugby if you look back so he has probably a bit of a tough time of it.

“But there are always opportunities, he is still a young man, still a very good talent. His day could come again, it’s not over,” added Keane.

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