Last season's Pro12 player of the year Bundee Aki and Ireland second-row Ultan Dillane have given Connnacht a huge boost by committing their futures to the province.

Aki has been a towering presence out west since his arrival from he Chiefs in 2014.

The powerhouse centre was crucial to their incredible Pro12 triumph and the New Zealander spoke of his pride at being a part of the Pat Lam's sucess story after signing a three-year contract extension.

"The last two years with Connacht have been incredible," he said.

"I moved over here not really knowing what to expect but this place has become home to me and my family now.

"I am proud to be part of this Connacht team and I’m excited to see what we can achieve together.”

Dillane has signed a two-year extension to his current deal. The 22-year-old Tralee man stepped up from the Connacht Academy last year and made his international debut for Ireland in last spring's Six Nations when he was called on as a replacement against England at Twickenham. 

Ultan Dillane has penned a two-year extension to his current deal

Dillane also featured in the two Test matches against the Springboks last summer, when Joe Schmidt's men claimed a first ever victory on South African with a stirring 26-20 victory at Newlands.

“Connacht Rugby has given me so many opportunities since I started in the Academy and I’m delighted to have signed on again," Dillane said.

"I am enjoying my rugby so much here and am excited about the future of this team and the province.”

Head coach Lam said it was a "massive statement" for both players to stay on, as he admitted their displays had been attracting unwanted attention from their rivals. 

“I’m really pleased that Bundee and Ultan have committed their futures to Connacht.

"Two talented rugby players, naturally their performances have attracted a lot of attention and there is no doubt that they had options in terms of where they could play.

"But I believe it is a massive statement about what we are doing here as a team and an organisation that they were both so determined to continue to play their part.”