‘Front Up, Rise Up’ extract: the Bundellu Aki story

‘Irish Times’ writer Gerry Thornley’s new book examines Connacht’s rise to Pro12 success

Connacht’s Bundee Aki celebrates as he leaves the field after the  team’s Pro12 final victory over Leinster at Murrayfield. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Connacht’s Bundee Aki celebrates as he leaves the field after the team’s Pro12 final victory over Leinster at Murrayfield. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Unlike Pat Lam and the countless others who blazed a trail from New Zealand to the Northern Hemisphere, Bundee Aki was both relatively young and inexperienced, having played just two years of Super Rugby before pitching up in Connacht.

It’s hard to credit now, given he has become the standout player in the Guinness Pro12, but Aki struggled in his first season.

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