Ireland Boss Joe Schmidt Has Say On Bundee Aki’s Red Card Against Samoa

Hard to argue.

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt says it’s “hard to argue” Bundee Aki’s red card in their Rugby World Cup win over Samoa this morning.

Aki was shown a straight red midway through the first-half for a high shoulder hit on Samoa’s Ulupano Seuteni that resulted in him being replaced by Tusi Pisi. Referee Nic Berry at the time said he couldn’t find enough mitigation to bring the sanction down.

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Schmidt says it was “disappointing” to finish the game with just 14 players on the pitch but that he respects the decision because he highly rates referee Berry and TMO Rowan Kitt. But says Ireland will review the tackle internally.

“We are happy with the result and a number of things about the performance but we are disappointed we didn’t manage to finish the game with 15 players,” Schmidt told World Rugby.

“We’ll look at that and try to come up with what we believe is some reasoning behind that.

“I’ll have to review it and have a really close look. I rate [referee] Nic Berry, I think he’s a very good referee.

“The TMO, Rowan Kitt, is a very good operator so it’s hard to argue with at the moment but it’s pretty devastating for Bundee.

“He knows a lot of the Samoan players very well, they’ve got a lot of respect for him. For us it’s a really disappointing finish to the night.”

“I think Bundee is upright, you can see both of his hands behind the shoulder blades of the player. We live in hope, we’ll see what the judiciary decide but once it’s a red card you sense a loss of control over what happens next.”

Given the way the World Cup has gone so far, it’s likely Aki will receive a three-game suspension, ending his World Cup no matter how successful Ireland are. A tough pill to swallow for Aki whose both parents are Samoan.

Samoa coach Steve Jackson was hopeful after the game that the “powers that be” see some “sense” and Aki gets to play a further part at the World Cup.

“I’ve known Bundee for a long time. Hopefully, the powers that be see some sense and he gets to continue on at this tournament. He’s a great kid.”