Conor Murray Jumps To The Defence Of Bundee Aki After Criticism
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Conor Murray has come out and defended his new Ireland teammate Bundee Aki, who has been the subject of a lot of criticism since being named in Joe Schmidt’s Ireland squad.
The New Zealand-born centre has recently become eligible for Ireland on residency rules, with many of the usual critics once again coming out to complain about his selection, as they did when CJ Stander became eligible.
Murray says it’s completely unfair as Aki has done nothing wrong.
“Yeah, I think [it is unfair]. It’s tough on a player like that,” he said.
“He came over here and has played rugby and qualified for Ireland in the right way. I know people have different opinions on that [qualification process] but if you’re just looking at calling a player and singling a player out like that, and giving someone abuse or a hard time about it, I think it’s really unfair.
“Bundee hasn’t done anything wrong. He has come into the squad. He’s a bubbly guy, he has lots of character and he’s working really hard; and he’s an awesome player. For us, we’re lucky to have him in our squad. It’s definitely unfair for someone to receive that heat off the media when he hasn’t done anything wrong.
“He just loves playing rugby and he’s looking to get the opportunities and hopefully he’ll get one, and show people how good he is. And quieten people.”
When asked if the criticism has affected Aki in any way, Murray added:
“He’s just buzzing around the place and enjoying training, and that side of it.”
“For me, I’m sure he’s seen it as we see most things, whether it be on your phone or someone telling you. You’re going to see it. From what I see, he’s handling it really well and just enjoying rugby.”
At the end of the day he’s not the first, nor will he be the last to take advantage of the rule, and not just with Ireland. Can we please get over it and stop giving these players a hard time?