All Blacks legend Conrad Smith had some high praise for Bundee Aki 3 years ago

All Blacks legend Conrad Smith had some high praise for Bundee Aki

A great episode of The Hard Yards this week...

On this week's The Hard Yards, host Andy McGeady and SportsJOE reporter Pat McCarry were joined by All Blacks legend and all round good guy, Conrad Smith for a chat about rugby, living in France and where his strange nickname, Snakey, came from.

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But at one point, Smith starts speaking about Bundee Aki and he had some pretty complimentary things to say about the Connacht and Ireland centre.

You can listen to the clip below from 48.00.

The Hard Yards

This week: Conrad Smith, Jim Hamilton, Ian Keatley, Champions Cup preview and Leo Cullen's nickname

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In case you don't have time to listen now, here's a quick rundown of what he said.

"He's doing the same sort of things really well," said Smith, a 94 cap centre.

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"Great with ball into contact, getting arms free to offload but he's obviously developed as everyone does. He's played a lot, he's developed things to his game but when he was in New Zealand he was highly regarded.

"You talk about some players that weren't picked - like Hadleigh Parkes for example - he was struggling to get into a Super team but you see how good he's gone since he moved to Wales.

"But Bundee was someone highly regarded but he's made his decision to leave and it's worked out quite well for him."

Aki has enjoyed his time with Ireland and provided an insight into the mentality of Joe Schmidt's side with regards to selection.

"As you can see in our team there's a lot of quality players, you can't take anything for granted," said Aki after the Italy win.

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"So you've got to keep going, keep playing and make sure you keep improving and making sure you're putting your hand up to fight for that spot again.

"You're never stamped into a team. It's all about just doing your job properly. But I'm definitely enjoying it."