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Bundee Aki in 'no doubt' Robbie Henshaw will be a Lions starter this summer

The Kiwi native expects his former team-mate to be central to Warren Gatland’s plans.

Aki and Henshaw were central to Connacht's Pro12 victory last year.
Aki and Henshaw were central to Connacht's Pro12 victory last year.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

BUNDEE AKI BELIEVES his former team-mate Robbie Henshaw is guaranteed to be in Warren Gatland’s Lions squad for this summer’s tour of New Zealand, even suggesting he should be a nailed-on starter.

23-year-old Henshaw has enjoyed an outstanding season for Ireland and Leinster and is widely-expected to be included in Gatland’s travelling party to be announced on Wednesday.

The ex-Connacht centre, who formed a devastating partnership with Aki in Galway, is among the leading candidates to start in the Lions midfield with England’s Owen Farrell expected to get the nod at 12.

It means Henshaw will likely be up against Jonathan Joseph, Elliot Daly and Jonathan Davies for the inside centre position, with Aki backing the Athlone native to carry his fine form into the three Test series.

“He will play in the summer, without a doubt. He’s been playing phenomenally in the Six Nations and the way he played against the All Blacks in Chicago and in Dublin. Without a doubt [he'll play] and I have full confidence in him.

“The work rate he does on and off the ball in a game. He just works hardly really and I’m watching his games, he’s playing really well. He’s playing phenomenal and his game is just getting better and better.”

Aki, who is still in touch with Henshaw and regularly meets up with him, added: ”Even at training when we were at Connacht last year, he just wants to improve and I can see it now as a player. Whatever he does and whatever his role is for whichever team I’m sure he does it to the best of his ability.”

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Ryan Bailey

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