IRFU weighing up appealing Bundee Aki suspension

Final decision will be made once written report is received on Tuesday afternoon

Ireland’s Bundee Aki takes part in a training session at the Arcs Urayasu Park ahead of the Rugby World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/Getty Images

Ireland’s Bundee Aki takes part in a training session at the Arcs Urayasu Park ahead of the Rugby World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/Getty Images

 

Bundee Aki, following the three week suspension for a high tackle that injured Samoan outhalf UJ Seuteni, will not be available for World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand on Saturday at Tokyo stadium but the IRFU have not ruled out an appeal.

“There is a bit of confusion out there around the Bundee process,” said the Ireland team spokesman. “How this works is: the written report is delivered within 24 hours of the hearing so once that’s received we will review that.”

“We can’t think about [an appeal] until we have seen the report. The 48 hour window [to appeal] starts when we receive the document.”

Ireland are expected to get the written report this evening (lunch time in Ireland).

In the meantime, Aki is allowed to “train fully” with the squad – so that means all 31 players are involved in this week’s preparation – and regardless of an appeal, there are “no restrictions” on Aki remaining in the Ireland camp for the duration of the tournament.

Aki is being represented William Fry solicitor Derek Hegarty, a former Terenure and Leinster scrumhalf, who was flown out to attend Monday’s disciplinary hearing chaired by Adam Casselden, which also included former Scotland coach Frank Hadden and Valeriu Toma, who rejected the argument to rescind the red card.

“Having considered all the angles of the incident,” said a World Rugby statement, “together with evidence from the player and his representatives, the committee upheld the decision of the referee.”

The independent disciplinary committee of Adam Casselden, Frank Hadden and Valeriu Toma rejected Aki and Ireland’s attempts to have the red card rescinded.

“Bundee was sanctioned on the day and we lost of him for a large chunk of the day,” said Ireland assistant coach Simon Easterby. “So, we are disappointed with lots of different things but mainly for Bundee.

“We are lucky that we have a really good group of players in that midfield.

“Bundee was pretty upset about the decision and rightly so but until we know exactly how they came to that decision before we can make any further comment.

“He will be helping prepare the lads as best as possible – there is no better man than Bundee who knows how the Kiwis work and how we might approach this.”

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