Ireland centre Aki’s World Cup ended by three-game ban

Referee Nic Berry red cards Ireland's Bundee Aki in Saturday's World Cup game against Samoa

Bundee Aki was red carded by referee Nic Berry during Ireland’s Pool A win over Samoa on Saturday
2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-final: New Zealand v Ireland
Venue: Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo Date: Saturday, 19 October Kick-off: 11: 15 BST
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio Ulster; plus text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

Ireland centre Bundee Aki’s World Cup is over after he was handed a three-week ban following his red card against Samoa on Sunday.

Ireland’s attempts to have the red card overturned proved unsuccessful.

However, because of the New Zealand-born player’s good disciplinary record, the ban was reduced from six weeks.

Aki, 29, can appeal against the ban but, as it stands, he is set to miss Saturday’s quarter-final against the All Blacks.

He will also be unavailable for any further matches in the tournament if Ireland earn a surprise win over the defending champions.

Ireland management ‘disappointed’ by verdict

A brief statement from Irish Rugby said that Ireland management’s “are disappointed with the outcome of Bundee’s hearing and will review the judicial committee’s written report once received”.

Aki was sent off in the 47-5 Pool A win in Fukuoka on Saturday for a high tackle on UJ Seuteni.

“The player sought to overturn the red card,” said World Rugby.

“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.”

Ireland flew out specialist lawyer Derek Hegarty to Japan for Aki’s disciplinary hearing.

Aki would have been pushing hard for a start in Saturday’s New Zealand match, and his absence could pave the way for the fit-again Robbie Henshaw to partner Garry Ringrose in midfield.

Following Saturday’s game, Ireland coach Joe Schmidt said Aki, who is of Samoan descent, had been “devastated” by his red card.

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