What the referee said as Bundee Aki was sent off against Samoa 2 years ago

What the referee said as Bundee Aki was sent off against Samoa

Playing against the home of his mother and father, Bundee Aki lasted only 28 minutes.

Bundee Aki knew he had made a mistake, but he did not know it would prove so costly.


The New Zealander, of Samoa descent, was having a decent first half in Ireland's final game of Pool A, in the World Cup, but one reckless tackle ended his game.

Ireland were 21-5 ahead of Samoa after tries from Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong and Johnny Sexton when a Robbie Henshaw error led to a phase of broken play.

Aki rushed forward to try reach the ball but Ulupano Seuteni got there first and the Connacht centre's tackle was too high:

Credit: World Rugby (via RTE Player)

The collision, with the Samoan outhalf dropping to his knees, looked bad in real-time and the slow-motion replays did Aki no favours. There was no bite or intent to the hit but Aki's attempt to wrap his arms came after the shoulder to head contact.

Here is the video in full, courtesy of eir Sport:


It could be argued that Seuteni dipped slightly but Aki was reckless, all the same, and he knew himself that he had erred. As the Samoa 10 was splayed on the pitch, Aki put his hand up in apology.

He would have been hoping for a talking to, or a yellow card at most, but referee Nic Berry had made his mind up. Conferring with the TMO, he said:

"Direct contact to head with high degree of force. I'm not seeing enough to mitigate it down [to a yellow]."


Aki cut a distraught figure as he headed off the field of play and left Ireland with just 14 men with over 50 minutes to play.

Seuteni was subbed off for Tusi Pisi and did not return after his Head Injury Assessment.

For Aki, that could be his World Cup over as a ban for a mid-range dangerous tackle is six to eight weeks. Even if that ban is cut in half, Aki could miss the next three weeks, should Ireland last that long. World Rugby does not allow replacements for suspended players.

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