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Bundee Aki gets citing warning for 'act of dissent' towards referee Raynal

The Ireland centre will not face a suspension for remonstrating with the French match official.

Aki remonstrates with referee Mathieu Raynal.
Aki remonstrates with referee Mathieu Raynal.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

CONNACHT CENTRE BUNDEE Aki has been issued with a citing commissioner warning for his exchange with referee Mathieu Raynal following his side’s last-gasp defeat to Leicester in the Champions Cup last weekend.

While the Ireland centre will not face a suspension, EPCR has confirmed that the “act of dissent” by Aki has led to an official warning.

Leicester won the game thanks to a last-minute try from wing Hosea Saumaki that required a television match official review to confirm that his foot had not been in touch before scoring.

Raynal and the TMO confirmed the score and Leicester’s win with it, leading to Aki remonstrating with the Frenchman after the final whistle.

“That is not fair,” said Aki, as heard over the ref mic, when confronting Raynal.

“What is not fair?” responded Raynal.

“That. The heel was on the line, you can see it. You can see it. I don’t want another apology. We’ve had too many apologies,” answered Aki.

“If it’s not on the line, you will apologise. Thank you,” said Raynal before walking away.

Aki later took to social media to apologise to Raynal, who will referee Ireland’s clash with England in the upcoming Six Nations.

“Like to apologise about my action towards the referee and officials, kids who were watching,” wrote Aki.

“Absolutely not needed in this game. Emotions were high and that is certainly not an excuse for my actions. Definitely will take the loss on the chin and will be looking at myself.”

EPCR has now followed up by announcing a citing commissioner warning for Aki.

A combination of three citing warnings and yellow cards – or three of either – leads to a player being brought before a disciplinary panel.

“The Connacht Rugby centre, Bundee Aki, has been issued with a Citing Commissioner Warning arising from his club’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round 3 match against Leicester Tigers on Saturday, 15 January 2022,” reads an EPCR statement.

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“The warning was for an act of dissent towards the match referee, Mathieu Raynal (France), in contravention of Law 9.28. The match Citing Commissioner was Jeff Mark (Wales).

“Players who accumulate three Citing Commissioner Warnings, or who are shown three yellow cards for Foul Play offences, or a combination of both, during the pool stages and knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup and the EPCR Challenge Cup, will be required to attend a Disciplinary Hearing.”

Meanwhile, Wasps out-half Jacob Umaga has been suspended for four weeks for the high tackle that saw him red-carded during his team’s win over Toulouse last weekend.

“The committee upheld the red card decision, finding that Umaga had made contact with Page Relo’s head in a dangerous manner,” says the EPCR statement.

“It then determined that the offence was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected six weeks as the appropriate entry point.

“As this was the player’s second appearance before a disciplinary committee for a similar offence this season, it was decided not to grant the full 50% mitigation, and consequently, the committee reduced the sanction by two weeks before imposing a four-week suspension.”

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