Connacht Director of Rugby Andy Friend has dismissed rumours of linking Bundee Aki to Munster as "Paper talk."
Friend was speaking as Bundee Aki's future with the province as been under speculation following his absence from the squad in recent games.
The Ireland centre hasn't played for the province since their defeat to Ulster on the 23rd of December. Aki was rested for the defeat to Leinster, but was available for selection in their next three games, but hasn't featured.
Cathal Forde, Bryan Rolston, Tom Daly and David Hawkshaw have been some of the players preferred at inside centre to Aki. Despite his lack of game time, he has been named in the Ireland squad for the Six Nations.
Bundee Aki is under a central contract with the IRFU until 2024, and there had been rumours of a potential switch to rivals Munster.
With out-half Jack Crowley currently playing a lot of rugby at 12, and Michael Fekitoa's future in the balance after a disruptive first season, Aki could be an option for Munster
Bundee Aki Move To Munster Dismissed By Friend
However, speaking today, Andy Friend has dismissed rumours of a potential transfer to Graham Rowntree's side.
I've no doubt he'll be here. It's all just paper talk as far as I'm aware.
We picked that team based upon form, based upon what we felt was right for that weekend, and we didn't get the job done which is very disappointing. We've got to own that. At the time we selected the team, it was the right team.
He's certainly not surplus [to requirements], as we know he's away for the next five weeks with Six Nations, and the ideal scenario is that he has a great Six Nations, he comes back and is raring to go and playing his best footy for our last five or more games.
Since arriving to the province in 2014, Aki has become one of their greatest ever players, and was a key part of their PRO12 triumph in 2016.
For the first time since arriving to the western province, Aki has been overlooked in the side for younger, in-form options.