Bundee Aki's World Cup is over as tough red card punishment handed down
One split-second lapse in judgement and that is it.
Bundee Aki is as committed as they come. He never backs down from a challenge and so often puts his body through the ringer for Connacht and Ireland.
He is full-on and that is why so many Irish rugby supporters love him, but that foot-to-the-floor attitude is what ultimately led to his reckless tackle against Samoa on Saturday. In the 28th minute of Ireland's 47-5 win over Samoa, Aki raced forward to try and shut down an attack and his shoulder and upper body thwacked into Ulupano Seuteni.
Referee Nic Berry consulted with the TV Match Official and sent Aki off. He later caught up with Seuteni, who left the field of play injured, to pass on his personal apologies and wish him all the best. Those remorseful actions are to Aki's credit but it has now cost him, and Ireland, dearly.
On that red card call, Barry Murphy, Andrew Trimble and Jerry Flannery, spoke of how it could have been avoided in the latest episode of Baz & Andrew's House of Rugby [from 26:00 below]:
"If Garry Ringrose was making that tackle [that Aki did]," reasoned Murphy, "because he doesn't go in to hurt lads, he would have made it but not have put in the high shot."
"It's not that someone goes into a tackle to maim the other guy," Flannery argued. "They just want to get their tackle-entry body position right so that they dominate the collision. It's not like, 'I want to put you in hospital'."
On Monday evening [Japanese time], Aki faced a citing commission regarding that red-card tackle and it was confirmed that tournament will end early. A statement from World Rugby reads:
'Bundee Aki will miss Ireland’s quarter-final against New Zealand on 19 October, the semi-final and final of Rugby World Cup 2019 should Ireland qualify'
All told, the Connacht centre got a six-week ban that was then reduced to three weeks. As Aki is suspended, Ireland will not be able to call up a replacement.
The Ireland vs. New Zealand game takes place at 11:15am (Irish time) on Saturday, October 19.
SUBSCRIBE HERE TO BAZ & ANDREW'S HOUSE OF RUGBY: https://playpodca.st/house-of-rugby-ie
The latest episode sees Barry Murphy, Andrew Trimble and Jerry Flannery look ahead to the World Cup quarter finals, the Bundee Aki red card, a possible Ireland team and talk Joker.