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19th Mar 2024

Bundee Aki in the running for huge rugby award

Patrick McCarry


A huge acknowledgement of the Connacht star’s consistency, and impact across a winning campaign.

Bundee Aki is the sole Ireland star on a four-man shortlist for the 2024 Six Nations Player of the Championship.

Aki, who was nominated for 2023 World Rugby Player of the Year, carried on his good form from last year into this year’s championship. While he did not score a try during Ireland’s title-winning campaign, he was excellent in wins over France and Wales, the best player in a green jersey during the loss to England and was top-notch as Scotland were bested in the final game.

Ahead of that finale, we spoke with Mack Hansen, his Connacht and Ireland teammate, as he helped promote the Wings for Life World Run. Hansen was asked for his take on Aki and set off on one:

“Bundee might give off that laid-back persona but for sure, he’s on the other end of the spectrum on when it comes to getting the work done,” Hansen added.

“He’s constantly one of the people longest in gym. He’s good at doing his extras and putting in the work so he’s ready for the end of the week. I’d say he’s been doing the exact same thing [in Ireland camp], week in, week out and that’s exactly why he’s so good. He doesn’t skip reps, doesn’t skip any of little things. That’s just what makes him one of the world’s best.”

Also nominated for the award are Ben Earl (England), Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland) and Tommaso Menoncello (Italy). The most unfortunate player to miss out must be Ireland hooker Dan Sheehan, who scored five tries in the championship and was part of a front row that dominated four of their five matches. The Irish lineout being under pressure in most games could have been the one blot that kept his name off that shortlist.

Bundee Aki and Ireland set for South Africa tests

After Ireland won back-to-back Six Nations titles, coach Andy Farrell was asked about the upcoming summer tour to South Africa.

“Yeah,” Farrell began, “it doesn’t get any more difficult, does it, or any more exciting than that.

“All you want is an opportunity not put yourself out there against the best and South Africa are 100% the best, so being able to go out there and test ourselves over there.

“We’ve managed to win one game over there before. To be able to play two games and test ourselves will be great for our development, going forward.”


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