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Blow for Connacht as Bundee Aki will definitely miss Champions Cup play-off semi-final

The powerful midfielder’s appeal fails to reduce his punishment.

Connacht centre Bundee Aki.
Connacht centre Bundee Aki.
Image: Craig Watson/INPHO

CONNACHT HAVE FAILED in their bid to have influential centre Bundee Aki available for their Champions Cup play-off semi-final as his three-week suspension has been upheld.

The Kiwi was banned for misconduct towards referee Ian Davies during a Guinness Pro12 game against Leinster last month.

Connacht had appealed the decision to suspend the 27-year-old as it would rule him out of their Champions Cup semi-final play-off against Northampton or Gloucester the weekend after next.

However, the Appeal Committee of Rod McKenzie, Bill Dunlop and Iain Goodall ruled in Glasgow today that the initial three-week punishment (effectively three games) handed down to Aki is sufficient and will stand.

Aki will be free to play after 22 May, meaning he would be available for the Champions Cup play-off final, should they win their semi-final tie.

The identity of Connacht’s opponents in that semi-final remains uncertain as it depends on how the final of the Challenge Cup pans out on Friday.

If Gloucester overcome Stade Francais, they will face Pat Lam’s charges a week later. If they are beaten by their French opponents, Connacht will be taking on Northampton, who finished seventh in the Aviva Premiership.

One thing that is certain is Connacht will be playing the play-off semi-final away from home, but if they overcome the first obstacle the final would be at the Sportsground a week later.

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About the author:

Alan Waldron

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