The Ireland centre is unavailable for Connacht's next four fixtures after his red card against England
Bundee Aki banned for four matches
Bundee Aki has been banned for four matches after being sent off in Ireland’s Six Nations victory against England.
The Ireland centre was shown a red card in the 63rd minute following a dangerous tackle on England No 8 Billy Vunipola.
Accepting the tackle warranted a red card, Aki admitted to dangerous play in front of an independent disciplinary committee. The committee determined the tackle “reckless” and ruled it a mid-range offence. Under World Rugby regulations, the ban’s starting point is a minimum of six weeks.
However, Aki’s “prompt acceptance, attitude and clear remorse” for the challenge earned him a two-week reduction to his suspension. Aki’s previous disciplinary record meant he was unable to earn a 50% reduction in his sanction, which is the maximum available.
Consequently, Aki misses Connacht’s Challenge Cup last-16 tie against Leicester on Saturday 3 April, plus the following three games organised by EPCR (European Professional Club Rugby) or Pro Rugby Championship.
Aki’s dismissal makes him the first Irish player in history to receive two red cards at Test level as he was also sent off against Samoa at the 2019 World Cup.
A Six Nations statement read: “The red card issued infringes Law 9.13, related to dangerous play during a tackle. Dangerous tackling includes tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the shoulders. Aki had made contact with his opponent just ‘inches too high’.
“The Disciplinary Committee accepted Mr Aki’s explanation of the incident and that he intended to perform a legitimate tackle. The committee accepted that Aki’s actions had been reckless rather than deliberate or intentional.
“The Disciplinary Committee determined the offence to warrant a mid-range entry point. This would have been its determination in any event, notwithstanding the head contact involved.”
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