Suspension ends Bundee Aki’s World Cup campaign

Ireland centre Bundee Aki has been ruled out of the rest of the Rugby World Cup after being handed a three-week ban following the red card he received against Samoa.

The Connacht back was sent-off for a dangerous tackle on fly-half Ulupano Seuteni in the 29th minute of their clash with the Pacific Islanders.

Despite Aki’s absence, Ireland went on to claim a comfortable 47-5 triumph, which secured their place in the quarter-finals of the global tournament.

Joe Schmidt’s men will now go on to face defending world champions New Zealand in the last-eight, but they will have to make do without their inside centre.

Aki appealed the decision handed down by Nic Berry but an independent judicial committee, comprising of Adam Casselden SC (Australia), Frank Hadden (Scotland) and Valeriu Toma (Romania), upheld the referee’s call.

Ulupano Seuteni from @SamoaRugby off with a #HIA following contact from the shoulder of Bundee Aki from @IrishRugby. #redcard for Aki. #RWC2019 #IREvSAM

— The Rugby Union Physio (@RugbyWCPhysio) October 12, 2019

They imposed a three-week sanction on the 29-year-old meaning that he will certainly miss the rest of the World Cup, even if Ireland reach the final.

A World Rugby statement read: “The committee applied World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-range entry point, which was introduced in 2017 to protect player welfare, deter high contact and prevent head injuries. This resulted in a starting point of a six-week suspension.

“Taking into account the mitigating factors that are considered in relation to sanction, including the player’s good disciplinary record, the committee reduced the six-week entry point by the maximum permitted three weeks, resulting in a sanction of three weeks, which equates to three matches in the context of Rugby World Cup 2019.

“Aki will miss Ireland’s quarter-final against New Zealand on 19 October, the semi-final and final of Rugby World Cup 2019 should Ireland qualify or should Ireland not qualify for these games, the player’s next club match or matches with Connacht in the PRO14 on his return from international duty.”