Aki escapes punishment for ref-bashing
DISCIPLINARY UPDATE: Ireland centre Bundee Aki will be available for Connacht’s final Champions Cup pool game of the season against Stade Francais.
The Ireland star will not be cited for his verbal outburst towards French referee Mathieu Raynal following his side’s defeat to Leicester Tigers.
According to the EPCR ruled that Aki’s actions only merited a citing commissioner warning rather than a citing and a potential ban.
Aki was left furious after Raynal deemed good a last-gasp match-winning try by Leicester’s Hosea Saumaki last weekend.
He confronted the official on the pitch following the full-time whistle.
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“That is not fair. That’s not right. That is not fair,” he said in an argument that could be heard on live TV via the mic the referee was wearing.
Raynal replied to Aki: “What is not fair?”
“You knew it was on the line [the Leicester player’s foot], you can see it. You can see it,” retorted Aki. “I don’t want another apology. We have had too many apologies in our game.”
Raynal, though, had the last say, reprimanding Aki by insisting: “It is not on the line, you will apologise. Thank you.”
The French official was ultimately proven correct that Aki would be the one doing the apologies as the Connacht player soon posted his apology on to Twitter.
“Like to apologise about my action towards the referee and officials, kids who were watching,” he wrote.
“Absolutely not needed in this game. Emotions were high and that is certainly not an excuse for my actions. Definitely will take the loss on the chin and will be looking at myself.”
The decision not to cite Aki will come as a relief to Connacht coach Andy Friend and Ireland coach Andy Farrell.
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) January 20, 2022