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Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

19.05 2 Dec 2019


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Keith Wood feels a "sour taste" would have been left behind if Bundee Aki hadn't re-signed with Connacht.

Mounting speculation had linked the Ireland international with an exit at the end of his contract.

But the centre will be staying out west after signing a new three-year contract with Connacht.

Ex-Ireland captain Keith brought up the issue on Monday Night Rugby.

"I think if Aki hadn't re-signed with Connacht, it would've put a really sour taste to the residency rule and players coming in to get their cap to go away," he said.

"But I never felt that he was going to go away. I'm sure people were knocking on the door. But he seems to have bought into the whole idea of it too.

"I think we're getting to the point now where we won't have too many more players coming through that system because it will be five years."

Self-Sufficiency

With that in mind, Keith believes producing players through the academy systems will be even more vital for Ireland.

"The guys that we have, we want to hold onto. And we want to make certain that we get the maximum out of them too. So I think it was great business for everybody," he said.

Could Irish rugby have had any sense of grievance if Aki had left? Nathan Murphy put that question to Keith.

"I think if your business decision is to go and play for another country, yes I think you can have complaints. I really do," he replied.

"If you're going to go and say, 'I really want to go and play for Ireland' and then go and play somewhere else afterwards, I think you could have complaints.

"But I just think we're going to see fewer players coming over under those rules because it's been made more awkward."

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