Ireland and Connacht centre Bundee Aki has apologised after confronting referee Mathieu Raynal following his side’s Champions Cup defeat by Leicester.
Hosea Saumaki’s last-gasp try earned Leicester a dramatic 29-28 win in Galway after Connacht had led 28-10 with 20 minutes to go.
Saumaki was mere millimetres from being in touch, but multiple angles indicated that the Tongan had remained in-field.
Despite the evidence, Aki and some of the Connacht fans were enraged by the officials’ decision to allow the try. The inside centre then launched a diatribe at the referee about the decision.
Shouting at the ref, Aki was heard saying: “That is not fair. That’s not right. That is not fair.”
Raynal stayed calm and asked Aki: “What is not fair?”
“You knew it was on the line, you can see it. You can see it,” retorted Aki. “I don’t want another apology [after the game]. We have had too many apologies in our game.”
Raynal, though, had the last say, reprimanding Aki by insisting: “It is not on the line, you will apologise. Thank you.”
The player’s reaction was met with disdain, with many social media users calling for Aki to face disciplinary action.
Aki has since apologised for his behaviour, admitting he had been wrong.
“Like to apologise about my action towards the referee and officials,” he tweeted.
“Absolutely not needed in this game. Emotions were high and that is certainly not an excuse for my actions. Definitely will take the loss on the chin and will be looking at myself.”
Like to apologise about my action towards the referee and officials, kids who were watching. Absolutely not needed in this game. Emotions were high and that is certainly not an excuse for my actions. Definitely will take the loss on the chin and will be looking at myself.
— Bundee Aki (@bundeeaki12) January 15, 2022