Ireland's Bundee Aki to miss rest of Rugby World Cup with three-game ban

Bundee Aki's Rugby World Cup is over after the Ireland centre received a three-game ban following his red card in his nation's 47-5 win over Samoa on Saturday.

Aki was sent off in the 29th minute for a high tackle on fly-half Ulupano Seuteni in Ireland's final Pool A fixture, and head coach Joe Schmidt's worst fears were realised at a disciplinary hearing that lasted almost four hours in Tokyo on Monday, when the ban was confirmed.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) confirmed to ESPN they had flown specialist lawyer Derek Hegarty out to Japan to help in the hearing, but his presence failed to affect the expected outcome.

World Rugby said in a statement: "Having considered all the angles of the incident, together with evidence from the player and his representatives, the committee upheld the decision of the referee."

Schmidt's side finished runners-up in their pool after hosts Japan made it four wins from four by defeating Scotland in Yokohama on Sunday, meaning Ireland are set for a quarterfinal clash with defending champions New Zealand, who are trying for a third consecutive title.

Even if Aki's teammates are victorious in Tokyo on Oct. 19, and again in the semifinals, Aki will not be able to feature for his nation in the final due to the length of his ban.

Speaking after Aki's red card on Saturday, Schmidt said: "I think Bundee is upright [in the tackle]. 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."

Aki was born in New Zealand and his Samoan heritage meant the Samoa team were almost as upset as the Irish over the red card.

Samoa coach Steve Jackson said on Saturday his nation would willingly make representations to help Aki, 29, escape further sanction, but it is not yet known whether any Samoa representatives appeared at the hearing.

"I've known Bundee for a long, long time," said Jackson, who lost two players to red cards in the pool stage.

"He's a great man with great character."

Aki's dismissal was the seventh of the tournament.