Worse than Swain? Aki gets longer ban for dangerous clearout

Source: 1News

Ireland midfielder Bundee Aki has copped an eight-week ban for a dangerous clearout while playing club rugby last weekend - a heavier punishment than that of Wallabies lock Darcy Swain whose actions have sidelined Quinn Tupaea for nine months.

During Saturday's match between Connacht and the Stormers, Aki entered a ruck at speed looking to get Stormers winger Seabelo Senatla off the ball.

However Aki didn't get his approach right and his shoulder connected with Senatla's head, sending the winger flying backwards.

Aki was handed a red card for the moment with referee Gianluca Gnecchi telling the Ireland midfielder, "the footage is clear, it was a dangerous clearout, it is direct contact with the head and it's at high speed".

Aki took exception to the ruling, arguing with Gnecchi afterwards before eventually leaving the field.

Bundee Aki looks on after being sent off.

Since the 38-15 loss, the United Rugby Championship judiciary determined Aki's actions during Saturday's match for Connacht were reckless and worthy of a red card that entered at a mid-range infringement.

However, his subsequent behaviour towards Gnecchi pushed the ruling to a top-end offence and saw him banned for eight weeks, meaning Aki will miss Ireland's November fixtures against South Africa, Fiji and Australia, although he could face the Wallabies if he goes through an intervention programme with World Rugby.

South African media report Senatla is expected to be out four to six months from the incident although further details of his injury have yet to be released by the Stormers.

'Six weeks looking really ridiculous now'

Darcy Swain is yellow carded in the first Bledisloe Test in Melbourne.

Aki's incident and punishment has drawn instant comparison to Swain's clearout on Tupaea from earlier this month which the All Blacks revealed will now sideline the Chiefs midfielder for at least nine months due to "extensive damage" to his ACL which will require surgery.

Swain was only yellow-carded in the match for his dangerous play before it went to the SANZAAR judiciary where he was then given a six-week ban for his reckless actions.

Rugby fans were quick to compare the two incidents and once again challenged whether Swain should've been stood down for longer.

Other comparisons made included the fact both players don't have clean records - Swain was red-carded earlier this year for a headbutt against England while Aki missed last year's World Cup quarter-final against the All Blacks for a high tackle against Samoa - and that both said their play wasn't "intentional" but could've ended careers regardless.

Former All Black Lima Sopoaga was much more blunt with his review of Tupaea's injury in particular, calling Swain an "absolute coward" while taking a shot at the judiciary.

Aki and Swain could come up against each other at the end of the season when the Wallabies play Ireland in Dublin on November 20 as long as the former Chiefs player completes his World Rugby programme.