Updated Mar 23rd 2021, 8:00 PM
CONNACHT’S BUNDEE AKI has been banned for four games following his red card for a high tackle in Ireland’s Six Nations win over England last weekend.
The Ireland centre was sent off for a high tackle on England number eight Billy Vunipola in the 64th minute of his team’s victory.
Aki faced an online disciplinary hearing today and has been suspended for four games by the independent disciplinary committee.
The 30-year-old will now miss Connacht’s round-of-16 Challenge Cup clash away to Leicester Tigers in two weekends’ time, as well as the province’s following three games either in Europe or the Rainbow Cup.
Aki accepted he had committed an act of foul play in tackling Vunipola but the committee “accepted Aki’s explanation of the incident and that his intention had been to perform a legitimate tackle,” according to a Six Nations statement.
The disciplinary committee considered that Aki had made contact with Vunipola “inches too high” and accepted that the tackle “had been reckless rather than deliberate or intentional.”
It was determined that Aki’s offence warranted a mid-range entry point of six weeks, but the sanction was reduced by two weeks on account of Aki accepting he had committed foul play, his remorse, and his good conduct before and during the hearing.
Aki’s previous disciplinary record – which includes a red card for a high tackle at the 2019 World Cup – meant that the committee did not allow the maximum 50% possible reduction in his suspension.