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Bundee Aki gets four-game ban after red card against England

The ban comes as a big blow for Connacht ahead of their clash with Leicester.

Aki was sent off last weekend.
Aki was sent off last weekend.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Updated Mar 23rd 2021, 8:00 PM

CONNACHT’S BUNDEE AKI has been banned for four games following his red card for a high tackle in Ireland’s Six Nations win over England last weekend.

The Ireland centre was sent off for a high tackle on England number eight Billy Vunipola in the 64th minute of his team’s victory.

Aki faced an online disciplinary hearing today and has been suspended for four games by the independent disciplinary committee.

The 30-year-old will now miss Connacht’s round-of-16 Challenge Cup clash away to Leicester Tigers in two weekends’ time, as well as the province’s following three games either in Europe or the Rainbow Cup.

Aki accepted he had committed an act of foul play in tackling Vunipola but the committee “accepted Aki’s explanation of the incident and that his intention had been to perform a legitimate tackle,” according to a Six Nations statement.

The disciplinary committee considered that Aki had made contact with Vunipola “inches too high” and accepted that the tackle “had been reckless rather than deliberate or intentional.”

It was determined that Aki’s offence warranted a mid-range entry point of six weeks, but the sanction was reduced by two weeks on account of Aki accepting he had committed foul play, his remorse, and his good conduct before and during the hearing.

Aki’s previous disciplinary record – which includes a red card for a high tackle at the 2019 World Cup – meant that the committee did not allow the maximum 50% possible reduction in his suspension.

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The Committee “determined that the suspension should cover Mr Aki’s next four matches for Connacht in competitions organised by EPCR or Pro Rugby Championship (eg the Guinness PRO14 or the Rainbow Cup).”

Roger Morris [Wales], Frank Hadden [Scotland], and Stefan Terblanche [South Africa] made up the disciplinary committed and they heard evidence and submissions from Aki, Ireland head coach Andy Farrell, and Aki’s legal counsel, Derek Hegarty, as well as from Six Nations’ legal representative.

Aki has the right to appeal the suspension.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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