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Aki relishing future with Connacht despite initial anger over Lam exit

By John Fallon

Bundee Aki has admitted that he over-reacted to Pat Lam's shock decision to step down as Connacht coach at the end of the season.

Aki tweeted "feeling p*ssed" after Lam called the squad together earlier this month and announced he was leaving the Sportsground a year early to take up a deal with Bristol.

Aki, in big demand after being named Guinness PRO12 Player of the Season in Connacht's march to glory, had weeks earlier signed a new three-year contract.

But now the 26-year-old - brought from New Zealand by Lam in summer 2014 - says he has come to terms with the decision and is looking forward to his future at the Sportsground.

"Certainly I think I over-reacted. Pat has had a big influence on all of the boys, and especially myself, he has really improved my game," he explained.

"You have got to move on in rugby. People come and go and you have to enjoy every partnership you have and every professional you play with."

Aki will become Irish qualified next year but is concentrating at the moment on getting Connacht's defence of their PRO12 crown back on track in the festive derbies away to Ulster tomorrow and at home to Munster next week.

Their last-gasp win over Wasps at the weekend gives them a great opportunity to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup for the first time - they host Zebre and travel away to Toulouse in their final pool games.

Belfast Telegraph

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