Tuesday 26 September 2017

Connacht appeal may free Aki for play-off test

Bundee Aki: Facing three-match ban. Photo: Kenny Smith/Sportsfile
Bundee Aki: Facing three-match ban. Photo: Kenny Smith/Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

Bundee Aki could yet play for Connacht in their Champions Cup play-off as the province appeal his suspension.

Connacht have lodged an appeal which will be heard today in Glasgow.

Aki (27) was handed a three-match ban following incidents with referee Ian Davies during and immediately after Connacht's Pro12 defeat to Leinster in April.

After appearing via video link, Aki (right) admitted a charge of misconduct to the Pro12's disciplinary board and was subsequently handed a three-game ban.

showdown He has already sat out two of those games, with Connacht going down to heavy defeats to Scarlets and Munster in their final two Pro12 games of the season.

But Connacht would love to have last year's Player of the Year back in the fold as they prepare for a showdown against either Northampton Saints or Gloucester the weekend after next.

Meanwhile, incoming Connacht head coach Kieran Keane has added current Edinburgh defence coach Peter Wilkins to his coaching team.

Wilkins, an England native, has been in charge of Edinburgh's defence for the last two seasons, and before that he worked as defence coach with Super Rugby side the Queensland Reds.

Wilkins will take up the role at the start of June along with Jimmy Duffy and Nigel Carolan, and he says he is excited by the opportunity.

"I'm really pleased to be joining Connacht Rugby and excited about the opportunity to become a part of an organisation I have enormous respect for," said Wilkins.

"I have visited the Sportsground as an opposition coach and have always been struck, not just by the skill-set and commitment of the Connacht players on the field, but also by the passion and rugby values of the Connacht supporters and wider community.

"I'm well aware of Kieran's qualities from my time in the southern hemisphere, and am really looking forward to working closely with him, as well as Jimmy, Nigel and the other members of the organisation.

"I look forward to contributing to further success for Connacht Rugby and the province as a whole."

Irish Independent

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