Bundee Aki extends Ireland central contract until 2025

Centre commits to Ireland and Connacht until midway through the next World Cup cycle when he will be 35

Connacht centre Bundee Aki has signed a new two-year Ireland central contract that runs until the end of the 2025 season. The new deal will run until Aki turns 35 and will expire midway through the next World Cup cycle.

Aki, who has played his rugby in Galway since moving from the Chiefs in New Zealand in 2012, was recently nominated for World Rugby’s men’s player of the year award. The nomination, and Aki’s new contract, comes off the back of a stellar World Cup campaign where Aki was one of Ireland’s standout individual performers.

“Playing in Ireland means the world to me and I am delighted to sign a contract extension with the IRFU and Connacht,” said Aki. “Since moving to Galway nine years ago, Ireland has become a home from home and I am incredibly grateful to my coaches, teammates and supporters for making my family and I so welcome here.

“We’ve made great friends and incredible memories together and I am excited about the talent that is coming through across the country. I believe that there are more great days to come in the green of Connacht and Ireland and I am hugely excited about what the future holds.”


Connacht head coach Pete Wilkins labelled Aki “one of the best players in world rugby” and praised the British and Irish Lion’s “passion” for the province.

“Bundee has made a huge contribution to Connacht Rugby over the almost 10 years that he has been here,” said Wilkins.

“Bundee’s commitment to Connacht reflects not just the passion he has for this province but also the belief that he has in this club. We look forward to welcoming him back after his much needed break and I have no doubt every Connacht fan will show him how much he means to us all when he next runs out at the Sportsground.”

Since making his Ireland debut in 2017, Aki has been a part of two Grand Slam-winning squads, starting the title-clinching games in 2018 and 2023. The 33-year-old has earned 52 caps and scored 15 tries to date. Aki was a member of Connacht’s 2016 Pro12-winning squad and in 2021 became just the fourth player from the province to represent the British and Irish Lions.

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  • Nathan Johns

    Nathan Johns

    Nathan Johns is an Irish Times journalist