Joe Schmidt says he would be “pretty disappointed” if Bundee Aki’s red card against Samoa rules him out of the rest of the World Cup.
Ireland thumped Samoa 47-5 in Fukuoka to book their place in the quarter-finals, but Aki was sent off for a high tackle on UJ Seuteni and could now receive a suspension to end his tournament.
Aki’s parents are Samoan and he was “devastated” by his red card, according to Ireland head coach Schmidt.
Samoa boss Steve Jackson pledged to make whatever representations necessary to help Aki avoid a ban, insisting the red card should prove punishment enough.
Aki returned to the pitch at the final whistle, mingling with his close friends in the Samoa line-up – but Ireland boss Schmidt knows that could prove his final appearance of the competition.
“I spoke to Steve Jackson; he’s obviously suffered from a couple of red cards or citings from his players in this tournament,” said Schmidt.
“It’s a really tough situation. Bundee is upright; you can see both his hands behind the shoulder blades of the player who is just starting to come up.