Rugby World Cup 2019: Ireland centre Bundee Aki suspended for three games following red card tackle

Bundee Aki will miss the rest of the World Cup after receiving a three-match ban for his red card against Samoa.

The Ireland midfield back was sent off in the 47-5 thrashing of the Samoans on Saturday - their final pool game before a quarter-final clash with the All Blacks.

Aki used both arms in the tackle, but his shoulder made contact with UJ Seuteni's jaw, leaving officials no choice but to send the former Chiefs star off.

Aki faced a disciplinary hearing in Tokyo on Monday night, contesting the red card decision in a bid to be available for the knockout stages.

Rugby World Cup 2019: Ireland centre Bundee Aki suspended for three games following red card tackle

But the 29-year-old failed in that quest and was hit with a three-week ban, effectively scatching him from the rest of the tournament.

"The player sought to overturn the red card," read a World Rugby statement, confirming the three-week suspension.

"Having considered all the angles of the incident, together with evidence from the player and his representatives, the committee upheld the decision of the referee."

An independent disciplinary committee rejected Aki's and Ireland's attempts to have the red card rescinded.

Aki's absence means a likely midfield combination of Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose, although Ireland have 48 hours to appeal the suspension. 

Fukuoka , Japan - 12 October 2019; Ulupano Seuteni of Samoa is tackled by Bundee Aki of Ireland, resulting in a red card, during the 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between Ireland and Samoa at the Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium in Fukuoka, Japan. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty

But given the minimum sentence for a red card offence is a three-week ban, Aki and the Irish legal team face an uphill battle.

World Rugby ruled there were no "clear and obvious mitigating factors" to account for Aki's high tackle, and imposed an initial six-week suspension that was halved on account of the Connacht star's good disciplinary record.

Coach Joe Schmidt hinted Ireland would respect the outcome of the disciplinary hearing come what may when asked following the bonus-point win over Samoa.

"Once it's a red card you sense a loss of control over what happens next, no matter what you try to present," said Schmidt.

"There is a very hard line being taken and we'll just have to accept whatever decision is made by the judiciary."

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