Donnacha Ryan and Bundee Aki in top form on The Hard Yards 3 months ago

Donnacha Ryan and Bundee Aki in top form on The Hard Yards

Two men making a name for themselves abroad and proudly making a home away from home.

To mark the 50th episode of The Hard Yards rugby podcast, we spoke with Bundee Aki and Donnacha Ryan, heard from Joe Schmidt and were joined in-studio by James Downey.

Ryan is flying it for Racing 92 after injury forced him to miss the start of France's Top 14 season. Still more than good enough for Test rugby, he is focusing on Racing's upcoming league matches as Joe Schmidt appears to be looking closer to home.

Such a stance has worked in the favour of Connacht centre Bundee Aki, who has now earned four international caps after becoming Ireland qualified last October.

Following Aki's excellent performance against Italy, he spoke with us in the post-match mixed zone. He spoke of his pride at running out in front of such passionate home support, at Lansdowne Road, and [from 4:30 below] had a quick response to an English reporter's claim that his try may have cemented his place in the team.

"No, no, not at all," Aki replied. "A try is just a bonus really."

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"As you can see in our team there's a lot of quality players, you can't take anything for granted.

"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."

Wales are up next, for Aki an Ireland, and team selection options for that game were also discussed.

EPISODE 50 - RUNNING ORDER

2.00 - Ireland v Italy
4.00 - Irish mistakes
5.40 - Bundee Aki interview
7.40 - Who should replace Robbie Henshaw
10.00 - IRFU and their media access
11.50 - Why Eddie Jones is like Jose Mourinho
15.00 - Jordan Larmour learning opportunity
17.00 - Who will be the 23rd man for Ireland?
21.00 - Wales v England
24.00 - France and Scotland
26.00 - Acceptable penalties
27.30 - Donnacha Ryan interview
50.00 - Fan questions