New governance structure agreed for rugby in Scotland
Aki will not be available for the Westerners’ next five URC matches, including the derby clashes with Munster and Leinster, and will also miss at least the first two fixtures in Ireland’s Autumn Nations series.
He will definitely be absent for the Tests against South Africa and Fiji, but could return to face Australia on Saturday November 19 if he “passes the Head Contact Process Coaching Intervention programme”.
After an act of foul play against the Stormers winger Senate of Seabeloarbitrator Gianluca Gnecchi showed Aki a red card in the 60th minute of the game under Law 9.20(a).
The particular law states that a player must not charge into a ruck or maul. Charging includes any contact made without binding to another player in the ruck or maul.
In his answers to the judicial officer in charge of the disciplinary procedure (Pamela Woodman of Scotland), Aki had admitted that he had committed an act of foul play which deserved a red card.
She determined that her actions towards Senatla were reckless and considered, among other things, the speed, force, and high degree of danger in her actions.
Ms. Woodman determined that, had she been based solely on this conduct, the offense would have been rated as medium on the seriousness scale.
However, she also considered Aki’s actions and behavior towards the referee in relation to the issue of the red card, which she felt did not meet expected standards of conduct or respect.
This was also taken into account (in accordance with URC disciplinary rules) in determining that his offense was at the top of the gravity scale, which warranted a 10 week entry point sanction.
The court officer then considered whether there were any mitigating circumstances and concluded that Aki’s acceptance that he had committed an act of foul play (during the off-court disciplinary proceedings), the expression of remorse, an apology to both the opposing player and the referee, and a willingness to discuss with his provincial coaching staff a plan to address this issue, were relevant mitigating factors.
These mitigating circumstances justified a reduction of the penalty by four weeks.
Aki’s previous suspensions for red cards in 2019 and 2021 for foul play involving head contact, as well as his suspension and warning for prior conduct related to interactions with referees, were considered aggravating factors, which which, according to the bailiff, justified two additional weeks of sanction. .
As a result, the Ireland international will be suspended for a period of eight weeks. As previously stated, if he completes the Coach Intervention Program, the sanction will be reduced by one week.
Bundee Aki is not available for:
Vodacom Bulls v ConnachtSeptember 30, BKT URC
Connacht v MunsterOctober 7, BKT URC
Connacht v LeinsterOctober 14, BKT URC
Connacht v ScarletsOctober 21, BKT URC
Ospreys v ConnachtOctober 29, BKT URC
Ireland v South AfricaNovember 5, Fall Nations Series
Ireland v FijiNovember 12, Fall Nations Series
Ireland v AustraliaNovember 19, Fall Nations Series (replaced if player successfully completes Head Contact Process Training Intervention Program)
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