Bundee Aki shared a lovely post-match moment with Bryan Habana
"I have never witnessed anything like this."
The Connacht centre fronted up again, like so many of his teammates, as South Africa were pipped in Paris. He stuck five tackles, was a breakdown nuisance, won a vital turnover and made 66 metres off 14 carries, including one stunning run in the first half that had every Irish fan out of their seat.
"As a group and team we knew coming into this game we had to be better in all areas of our game," Aki reflected. "They put us under an immense amount of pressure, the belief we have in the group is outstanding."
Bundee Aki on Irish fans
As Bundee Aki was being interviewed, with his post-match accolade in hand, Irish supporters were bellowing a winning rendition of 'Zombie'.
Aki looked around a few times as he soaked in the scenes up in the stands, and out on the pitch.
"I am lost for words, these Irish fans are incredible," he declared. "Honestly, I have never witnessed anything like this, the travel crowd is completely a joke. It's only going to get bigger and crazier from here on in!
"Fair play to the boys for playing that well today. South Africa are an outstanding team, they are world champions for a reason. They gave it to us from beginning to end. Whatever happens, we will see them again."
There was a lovely moment as Aki got his man of the match award, from Springbok legend Bryan Habana, no less. The 2007 World Cup winner embraced Aki and the pair had a long hug before he stepped aside for the interviews. Just check out the noise in that video.
— ITV Rugby (@ITVRugby) September 23, 2023
"It's a huge day for Ireland," reflected Ireland captain Johnny Sexton. "This crowd is incredible, how many people turned up today, I don't know how we do it time after time. We didn't want to let them down.
HOUSE OF RUGBY WITH DARREN CAVE & CJ STANDER
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- Bundee Aki shows another side of himself before reminding us all of his best qualities
- Roy Keane cracks jokes with Johnny Sexton and Andy Farrell at Ireland training camp
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