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27th Mar 2024

Bundee Aki pipped by England star in huge Six Nations public vote

Patrick McCarry

Bundee Aki

The international audience sided with the England star.

Bundee Aki and Ben Earl are the frontrunners for 2024 Men’s Six Nations Player of the Tournament, with the winner due to be announced in the middle of next week.

Aki and Earl are nominated for the accolade, along with Scotland winger Duhan van der Merwe and Italy centre Tomasso Menoncello. Of the players most unfortunate to miss out, Dan Sheehan and Thomas Ramos are high up that list. Jamison Gibson-Park, too.

In looking back on our own Ireland player ratings, Bundee Aki was the most consistent and high-performing of Andy Farrell’s squad, averaging 8.1, with Gibson-Park and James Lowe not far off. In many ‘Best XV’ selections, Ben Earl also featured. Menoncello and van der Merwe were in a few, but were bumped out of others due to high competition in their places.

The Six Nations had a public poll open until late on Sunday just gone (March 24). That poll is now closed but the result is not expected until around April 5.

In the mean-time, RugbyJOE ran a poll featuring the following eight players facing off against each other in a knock-out format with the public asked to vote on each round:

  • Dan Sheehan, Bundee Aki, Jamison Gibson-Park (all Ireland)
  • Thomas Ramos, Damian Penaud (both France)
  • Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland)
  • Paolo Garbisi (Italy)
  • Ben Earl (England)

After two rounds of voting, with thousands weighing in, it was left to Ben Earl and Bundee Aki. Again, the public was asked to vote after after tallying more than 11,000 votes, this was the final result:

BEN EARL – 58%


Bundee Aki the favourite to get big Six Nations prize

Even with that wide international sampling dipping into the RugbyJOE channels to cast their vote, Bundee Aki remains the favourite to win the main Six Nations prize. He would certainly be my pick, with respect to Ben Earl and the other nominees.

Dan Sheehan, scoring five tries from the hooker position, could have split the Irish vote had he been included but the path looks clearer for Aki to rack up the numbers.

The Connacht centre is being eased back into action with his province and may not feature in their weekend trip to play Benetton in the United Rugby Championship. Connacht assistant coach John Muldoon explained that Aki was carrying knocks through the Six Nations, which make his performances all the more impressive.


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