Ireland’s Bundee Ai has been hit with a four-game ban after a high tackle on Billy Vunipola in their Six Nations game. Aki was red-carded on the 63-minute mark for a controversial tackle on the Saracens Number 8. He has been handed a six-week ban which will rule him out for the four matches left in the tournament.
“The Disciplinary Committee accepted Mr Aki’s explanation of the incident and that his intention had been to perform a legitimate tackle.” a statement from the Six Nations said. “The Disciplinary Committee considered that, in the dynamic of the tackle, Mr Aki had made contact with his opponent just ‘inches too high’. The Disciplinary Committee accepted that Mr Aki’s actions had been reckless rather than deliberate or intentional.”
Aki was praised after expressing remorse when he appeared on Zoom in front of a disciplinary committee. He expressed remorse as well as a huge concern for the well being of Vunipola. His ban was in turn reduced to weeks as his disciplinary record counted against further reduction of a ban.
“The Disciplinary Committee determined the offence to warrant a mid-range entry point (which would have been its determination in any event, notwithstanding that the head contact involved in the foul play meant that a mid-range entry point was the mandatory minimum under World Rugby’s regulations).” the Six Nations statement added.