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'I really rate Bundee - he was a pain in our backside when I was at Glasgow'
Lions attack coach Gregor Townsend has heaped praise on Ireland’s centre pairing Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki.

GREGOR TOWNSEND HAS backed the Henshaw/Aki midfield partnership to shine with the Lions.

After spending years trying to negate their strengths as an opposition coach, Townsend is now seeking a way to utilise them in as effective a manner as possible. So far that has been on the training pitches of Jersey. From tomorrow it’ll be in Murrayfield and then from Monday in South Africa.

“It’s great to get to know them, they’re obviously very good buddies so we felt that was important this week to pair them in the starting XV,” said Lions assistant coach, Townsend.

“Any cohesion we could get, the players that have been training here the longest, those that maybe have played together, that came into our (selection) thoughts.

“Robbie had such a good season, he’s such an all-round player and we’ve seen that on the training field so far. 

“Today we put up a high ball, it got stuck in the wind and then he springs from nowhere and wins the ball back. He showed really good hussle in defence.

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“And Bundee, I really rate Bundee because in those Connacht-Glasgow games over the years he was a pain in the backside for us; a really strong carrier of the ball but an ability to step, a very good defender and he’s shown over the last few weeks. I’m sure all of the Irish guys would have known this already but he’s got a very good passing ability. He can square up defenders.

 “So yeah, I’m looking forward to seeing them play. They give us gain line too. They’re both big guys but they’ll give us more than that.”

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