Bundee Aki signs lucrative deal that will delight all Irish rugby fans 6 years ago

Bundee Aki signs lucrative deal that will delight all Irish rugby fans

We are two months into the new season but now is the time most of the contract business is getting sorted.

Connacht fans may need to organise another parade as Bundee Aki is extending his stay out West.

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The New Zealander has continued on his excellent form of 2015/16 into the new season and has been pivotal in recent, key victories over Ulster and Toulouse.

There has been talk about Aki getting a new and improved contract since May - thought to be in the region of €650,000 a year - but his representatives have been inundated with offers, from home and abroad.

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At least four English Premiership clubs made enquiries about taking Aki off Connacht's hands, as well as a few French Top 14 sides. There was also strong interest from Munster but that would have required an awful lot of sweet talking with all parties.

There was a flurry of worry on social media, last night, after claims of deleted Aki tweets that suggested his time at Connacht was at an end. Those fears have been put to rest today with news of a new deal with the IRFU.

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SportsJOE understands that Aki was happy with the latest IRFU deal on the table after a few months of teasing out the financial details. Leinster losing Ben Te'o to Worcester Warriors after a three year stint, which had made him Irish qualified, was an oversight the union was not keen on repeating.

Although Aki has yet to fully commit himself to representing Ireland - he is eligible from October 2017 - the safe bet is that any new deal would include him lining out in Irish green at the earliest juncture.

The annual pay is close to what was first reported but Aki would be in line to greater sponsorship opportunities once he represents Ireland at Test level.

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