Brian O’Driscoll Has Some Solid Advice For Bundee Aki Following Pat Lam Announcement
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Bundee Aki was the first Connacht player to react to Pat Lam’s departure announcement and he wasn’t happy.
The New Zealand born centre tweeted ‘feeling pissed’ following the shock announcement, with Pat Lam revealing that there was a few tears shed between the two when they spoke shortly afterwards to discuss his impending exit.
Aki was the subject of much speculation recently with a host of top name clubs said to be interested in his services including some of the Top 14’s biggest sides and interestingly Pat Lam’s future club, Bristol.
The centre, who was brought to the West of Ireland by Lam however chose to sign a new three-year deal with the province, obviously thinking Pat Lam would be with him until at least the end of that contract.
Whether this decision by Lam will affect Aki’s future with the province remains to be seen, but one player who almost left his province following the departure of his coach is Brian O’Driscoll, who has offered his advice to the Kiwi.
O’Driscoll was close to leaving Leinster in 2005 before a chat with new coach convinced him to stick around for a season. He did just that, and seven more thereafter, and helped the province to three league titles, three Heineken Cup victories and a Challenge Cup.
Speaking to SportsJoe, the former Ireland captain believes Aki needs to park his disappointment and do what he signed on to do with the province, even after Lam departs.
“If a manager gets sacked, it doesn’t mean that you immediately give up your contract too because he’s worked well for you. Every coach and individual player is their own person.
“Maybe Bundee Aki did sign on the basis that Pat would stick around but Bristol came in with a phenomenal offer and he has decided to move on.
“Maybe Bundee Aki is put out by it but he is contracted to Connacht, he is still a Connacht player and whoever Connacht bring in as a new coach, he has to partner up well with him and try and continue to drive Connacht forward.”
Aki becomes eligible for Ireland in October next year and has already spoken to Joe Schmidt. This was all before Lam decided to leave however. Will it change his mind? Only time will tell.