“I Get On People’s Nerves At Times, Even Though I Might Just Want To Have A Laugh.”

“I’m a loud person.”

You might have spotted a video doing the rounds a few weeks back of Bundee Aki banging the advertising board and roaring instructions at his Connacht teammates as he helped guide his team to victory over Glasgow Warriors in the opening round of the PRO14.

As with bloody everything these days, Aki drew some criticism with some calling it cringe and others claiming he knew exactly that the cameras were on him (even though it’s recorded on a phone by a fan).

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But that hasn’t deterred Aki, who has promised he won’t be stopping anytime soon, no matter how much he gets on people’s nerves.

Aki was up for media duty today ahead of Ireland’s Six Nations clash with Italy on Saturday and said he’s naturally a “loud person” and feels that he needs to bring that energy and atmosphere to games now more than ever with no spectators in attendance.

“If you ask anybody in the teams that I’ve been with, I’m a loud person. I get on people’s nerves at times, even though I might just want to have a laugh.

“But I try to bring that on in teams and in a game. It’s obviously hard because we want our crowds, 100%, to be out there to bring the noise, for us to feed off.

“At the moment, we’re going through hard times but we need to be able, as a team, to bring our own energy and atmosphere – to be able to feed off each other. If I can do that, not just with how much I talk but through my actions and even supporting the boys off the pitch, then that’s just what I’ll do.”

The Ireland centre does plenty of talking during the week too to drive his teammates on.

“I do a lot of talking at training, during the week,” Aki added.

“My teammates at Connacht are well used to my loud voice and me screaming at them, giving them crap here and there! They are well used to it. When the guys are opposite me, at Connacht, I’m forever in their face and forever at them. That’s something we deal with as a group, as they do the same to me, and I’ve got to deal with it. It’s so if it does happen, in a game, I’ll be able to deal with it properly.

“It may sometimes catch other teams by surprise, as they haven’t seen me do it. And if it catches you by surprise, it might be a slight advantage for us. Who knows? But if I do get under their skin, that’s why I do it. If I don’t, then I’ve just got to lead by my actions and follow through.”

Keep at it Bundee. Don’t listen to the critics. A strong voice is exactly what Ireland needs right now.