Bundee Aki signs with Connacht

Bundee Aki of the Chiefs celebrates after scoring a try, Chiefs v Hurricanes, Super Rugby, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, June 28, 2013 Getty Images

Chiefs midfield back Bundee Aki has signed a three-year deal with Irish province Connacht.

Aki, 24, will leave New Zealand after another ITM Cup campaign with Counties Manukau to take up the contract which Connacht coach Pat Lam described as a coup.

"I spoke with Pat and was very impressed with the aspirations he and the team have for the club and its future," Ali said. "It's definitely something I want to be a part of."

Shoulder surgery delayed his start to the current Chiefs campaign. He made his first appearance in the 22-16 win over the Melbourne Rebels in Hamilton on Saturday.

Former Blues coach Lam says Aki will bring defensive physicality and an attacking edge to his team, who are the weakest of Ireland's four provinces. They are in eighth place nearing the end of the Pro12 championship comprising leading clubs from Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy.

"Bundee is a hard-working and talented individual and I believe that he will greatly contribute to the Connacht culture we've been developing and the vision we have laid out for the team," Lam said.