Iain Henderson Explains Ireland’s Unique Post-Game Celebration Led By Bundee Aki

Tradition.

Iain Henderson has praised the hugely positive influence Connacht centre Bundee Aki has had on the Ireland team since making his debut for the men in green last year.

Aki has become a key player under Joe Schmidt since declaring his allegiance for Ireland last year after completing his three-year residency. But Aki is not just key on the pitch, he’s also become an integral member of Ireland’s success off it.

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You’ll probably have noticed a new tradition that has been come commonplace with Ireland in recent months led by Aki, where they huddle around the Connacht man. Henderson says it’s an “in-house thing” that’s reserved for training and big games they’ve won.

“It’s just an in-house thing, a team bonding we get going and he’s [Bundee Aki] right in the middle of it,” smiled Henderson.

“[Bundee Aki] He’s good craic, he’s in the centre of all the banter that we have. That celebration, we’d do it occasionally after training, after good games we’ve won and he leads it.

“He kind of comes up with these actions and clapping and double clapping – bits and pieces he pulls out of his hat.”

“It gets everyone in a good mood and essentially it’s just a bit of fun – a bit of a celebration that we have.”

“That just paints a bit of a picture as to the character he is, adding enjoyment to what can be a very tough and stressful role at some stages.”

Henderson also fired back at All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster’s comments about Aki last week too…

“To call him a backstabber…that’s probably a bit sly, if I’m being honest.” Henderson added.

“I feel the amount of work he has put in, in Connacht and in Ireland, I think he’s completely justified to be wearing the green jersey, and the amount he’s given to it.”