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Samoa say they'll do everything they can to ensure Aki doesn't get banned

The Connacht man was sent off against Samoa and now faces a suspension.

SAMOA BOSS STEVE Jackson says he and his team will do all they can from their perspective to ensure that Ireland’s Bundee Aki is not suspended after his red card against the Samoans in tonight’s Pool A clash.

Aki was sent off for a high tackle in the first half of his team’s impressive 47-5 win to secure a World Cup quarter-final.

bundee-aki-after-receiving-a-red-card Aki was sent off in the first half of Ireland's win. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Given what we have seen from other similar incidents at this World Cup in Japan, Aki is now facing a follow-up ban that could end his tournament. It’s likely that the Ireland centre will face a disciplinary hearing in the coming days.

With Joe Schmidt’s side now set to face New Zealand or South Africa in next weekend’s World Cup quarter-finals, Aki will be hoping to escape a suspension.

For their part, the Samoans indicated that they will be telling the disciplinary panel that they feel Aki’s actions do not warrant a further suspension.

“I’ve known Bundee for a long, long time and what a great man he is, he’s got great character and he doesn’t go out there to do that that anybody,” said Jackson.

“Hopefully, the powers that be see some sense and hopefully he gets to continue on in this tournament because he’s a great kid and he deserves it as much as most.

“I hope no further sanction comes to him because I hope he can go further in this tournament and play everything. We’ll do everything we possibly can from a Samoan perspective to make sure that he gets on that field next week.

“Yes, we ended up with UJ having a HIA but there are more concussions that come from tackles around the knee and people getting kneed in the head. Was there malice in Bundee’s tackle? No, he’s just physical in the collisions, being a Samoan boy. There’s always that mitigating factor about how low did someone go.

“Defenders have got to make a decision within a split second. If you look at Bundee’s tackle again, UJ came with the ball at pace and I think he only had two or three metres to make a decision as to what sort of tackle he might put in.

“That’s what they’re asking the players to do now, in a split second you’ve got to make the right decision about what sort of tackle you’re going to make, which is extremely difficult.

“I wish Bundee all the best.”

Samoa captain Jack Lam stressed that there was no ill will from his side towards Aki after his tackle on UJ Seuteni and that the Samoan players hope he is not suspended.

Indeed, Aki spent some time out on the pitch after the game with his friends in the Samoa squad. 

“There’s no hard feelings, he knew what he’d done,” said Lam.

“I’ll just add that hopefully it doesn’t get ruined by him missing a couple of weeks out of the game. Hopefully, we get to see him in the finals.”

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella  / Reports from Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium

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