Get the lowdown on the Connacht, Ireland and British & Irish Lions man

Who is Bundee Aki: Ten things you should know about the Ireland centre

Bundee Aki is an explosive runner – with the tackling ability to match.

A stalwart of rugby in the west of Ireland, he was a key member of Connacht’s 2015-16 Pro12-winning side and was selected for the British & Irish Lions 2021 squad.

Ten things you should know about Bundee Aki

1. Bundee Aki was born on 7 April 1990 in Auckland, New Zealand. His full name is Fua Leiofi Bundellu Aki, and he is of Samoan descent.

2. His name Bundellu is in tribute to a doctor who helped with his birth, while the abbreviation ‘Bundee’ was given to him by a childhood rugby coach.

3. Samoa international Tim Nanai-Williams was in the year above him at Manurewa High School. The two are close friends.

Bundee Aki

Bundee Aki and Tim Nanai-Williams after Ireland and Samoa’s clash at RWC 2019 (Sportsfile/Getty Images)

4. He didn’t immediately enter professional rugby after leaving school, instead working as a bank teller in New Zealand to earn money for his family.

5. His local side was Counties Manukau, who he represented in the Mitre 10 cup. He then played for the Chiefs in Super Rugby.

6. Current Bristol coach Pat Lam signed Aki for Connacht in 2014 – the team would win the Pro12 the very next season.

7. His Test debut came in November 2017 against the visiting Springboks. His team would win 38-3 in a record victory. Aki had only completed three years of residency in the October of that year.

8. Aki is the first-ever Ireland player to receive two red cards in Test matches – one against Samoa at the 2019 Rugby World Cup and one against England in the 2021 Six Nations.

9. Former-All Black Ma’a Nonu is the player he considers his toughest-ever opponent.

10. Aki is married to Kayla Ielemia and has three children. The most recent, Andronicus Junior Papamau Aki, was born in January 2021.

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