Bundee Aki named RPI Player of the year


Connacht and Ireland centre Bundee Aki has been named as the Rugby Players Ireland (RPI) men’s player of the year.

Aki was nominated for World Player of the Year for 2023, and was a key player for Ireland as they won their second successive Six Nations title.

Also nominated for the award was Leinster pair Dan Sheehan and Jamison Gibson-Park.

Speaking on winning the award, Aki said: “I’m honoured to be recognised by my fellow Rugby Players Ireland members as their Player of the Year. It has been bittersweet but when I look back on the season, I won’t think about the results or awards. Instead, I’ll look back with pride at being part of such a resilient group, and the way we bounced back after the disappointment of the Rugby World Cup.

“Individual awards are fantastic, but this one would not have been possible without Jamison, Dan or any of my Irish or Connacht teammates for pushing me along.”

Aoife Wafer was on the double as she claimed both the Strata Financial Women’s XVs Players’ Player of the Year and Energia Women’s XVs Young Player of the Year.

Wafer was key for Ireland as they bounced back from a disappointing 2023 to finish third in the Six Nations, and qualify for the 2025 Rugby World Cup.

The 21-year-old was also nominated for the Six Nations Player of the tournament.

On receiving the award, Wafer said: “The past few months have been the highlight of my career to date. I find it hard to believe given where I was not very long ago. While I was happy with the way I played on a personal level, I really fed off the energy of the wider squad.

“We are an extremely close group. We back each other on the good days, and especially on the bad. I feel we have turned a big page in our journey this year and I look forward to seeing where we can go together as a team.”

Leinster second row Joe McCarthy was named as the Nevin Spence Men’s XVs Young Player of the Year ahead of Tom Ahern and last year’s winner, Jack Crowley.

Crag Casey’s try against Leinster in November was named as the try of the year, while Katie Corrigan scooped the AIB Corporate Banking Women’s XVs Try of the Year.

Sourse: breakingnews.ie

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