Rugby World Cup 2019: Samoa coach Jackson calls for Aki to avoid ban

By Sports Desk October 12, 2019

Coach Steve Jackson says Samoa will do everything in their power to help Bundee Aki avoid a suspension for his red card in Ireland's emphatic Rugby World Cup win over the Pacific Islanders.

Aki was dismissed for a dangerous tackle on Ulupano Seuteni after 29 minutes of the Pool A encounter at Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium on Saturday.

Ireland went on to dish out a 47-5 hammering and set up a quarter-final against New Zealand or South Africa next weekend, but they may have to do without Aki - who is of Samoan descent.

Jackson has called for the centre to be spared any further punishment, as he did not intend to strike Seuteni in the head with his shoulder.

"I've known Bundee for a long time and know what a great man he is, he's got a great character and he doesn't go out there to do that to anybody," said Jackson.

"Hopefully the powers that be see some sense and hopefully he gets to continue on in this tournament.

"We'll do everything we possibly can from a Samoan perspective to make sure he gets on that field next week."

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt is not optimistic Aki will be available for selection next weekend.

"Any further participation in the tournament is now at risk... we know there is a very hard line," the New Zealander said.

"It's a really tough situation. I think Bundee is upright, you can see both his hands behind the shoulder blades of the player who's just starting to come up and it's all split-second stuff.

"We live in hope and we'll see what the judiciary decide, but once it's a red card you sense a loss of control over what happens next no matter what you try to present."

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