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Ireland's Joe Schmidt hits back at jokey Ian Foster's Bundee Aki jibe, questioning the allegiance of foreign born ex-All Black Jerome Kaino

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has fired back at the All Blacks' use of overseas-born players, following assistant coach Ian Foster's sly dig at centre Bundee Aki.

Heading into this weekend's Test in Dublin, Foster commented on  Aki's move from New Zealand, where he had been playing for Counties Manuaku and the Chiefs, to Ireland, which later saw him gain eligibility to represent Ireland at Test level.

"You have moulded him into an Irish man, he looks like an Irish man now doesn't he?" Foster said earlier this week.

However, Foster's comments didn't sit well with Kiwi-born Ireland coach Schmidt, who drew comparison with the All Blacks' use of Pacific-born players, qualifying through residency in the same way that Aki did.

"I think Bundee has fully demonstrated his commitment through the last year," Schmidt told media.

"It's like asking was Jerome Kaino 100 per cent ready to play for the All Blacks, because he was born in a foreign country, or Chris Masoe, or Joe Rokocoko; or any of those guys.

"So having coached all those guys, they were very ready to play for the All Blacks.

"And I know that Bundee Aki is very ready to play for us in this weekend's fixture."

Kaino was born in American Samoa, Masoe in Samoa and Joe Rokokoko in Fiji. 

The trio combined to pay 169 times for New Zealand.

Barrett says Aki always had the potential but with good coaching he's become an Irish threat. Source: 1 NEWS


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