Connacht head coach Pat Lam has revealed that Bundee Aki was on crutches on Tuesday and was only confirmed to play in the Pro12 play-off less than two hours before kick-off.
The 26-year-old centre was named man-of-the-match as the Galway-based side booked their place in their first ever Pro12 Final after beating the Glasgow Warriors 16-11. It was the second time in two weeks that Connacht had beaten the reigning champions.
"Jeez, he's a warrior", Lam admitted post-match on Aki. "He actually twisted his knee in training on Tuesday".
Lam revealed that Aki injured himself after training. The 47-year-old admitted that some of the backs stayed back to work on their tackling, and Aki landed awkwardly on his knee.
"I heard everyone panic, and looked over and said; 'You've got to be kidding me'. He was lying on the ground and knee was twisted".
The head coach said that the medical team "did a great job" in making sure Aki was fit for the game. "They wanted to do a fitness test on him yesterday and I said; 'No! No!'. 'He has until 6.29pm on Saturday, to work out whether he was going to make it'".
Peter Robb was prepared for the rest of the week to replace Aki, but Lam admitted he was only confident the New Zealander would feature after he arrived at the ground.
The centre went off in the final ten minutes but is expected to feature in next week's Final in Edinburgh against Leinster.