BUNDEE AKI has been cleared to play his first game for Connacht since signing his latest contract extension with the province.

The 33-year-old has now fully recovered from a hamstring injury that has bothered him since the World Cup and is poised to feature against Bordeaux-Bègles in the opening game of the Champions Cup at the Sportsground on Friday night.

It will be Aki’s first game for Connacht since they went down to the Stormers in the URC semi-finals last May and will be only his fifth appearance of 2023 for the province after he was not used during games last January.


Head coach Pete Wilkins has not rushed Aki back or his World Cup colleagues into action, with Mack Hansen only returning last week against Leinster, while Finlay Bealham made his return in South Africa.

Wilkins said that Aki’s hamstring issue has been managed and he is all set to go.

“He’s worked really hard on it, probably ahead of schedule in terms of the hard work he’s put in and the support he’s had around him from the medical staff.

“It had been managed really well during that World Cup period and we just wanted to use this window to get it right for him.

“He is available and he’s good to go, which is great news for us and great news for him,” said Wilkins.

Aki, who joined Connacht in 2014, has probably been Connacht’s best-ever signing and after the World Cup announced a new contract extension which will keep him at the Sportsground until the summer of 2025 at least.

He became only the fourth Connacht player to feature for the British and Irish Lions in 2021 and his next game for Connacht will be his 128th.

2023-12-04T14:28:23Z dg43tfdfdgfd