Bundee Aki will miss Champions Cup play-off after his misconduct appeal is rejected
Connacht centre Bundee Aki will miss the province's Champions Cup play-off against either the Northampton Saints or Gloucester next weekend after his appeal to overturn a misconduct charge was rejected by the Pro 12's Appeal's Committee in Glasgow on Wednesday.
Aki, 27, was handed a three-match ban following incidents with referee Ian Davies during, and immediately after, Connacht's 37-24 Pro12 defeat to Leinster last month.
The player's case was considered at a hearing in front of an Appeal Committee comprised of Rod McKenzie (Chair), Bill Dunlop and Iain Goodall (all Scotland).
The Appeal Committee was satisfied that the Disciplinary Committee, who had initially suspended Aki, had not been in error in the approach it employed in determining the appropriate sanction for the admitted misconduct offence.
The Appeal Committee was also satisfied that a three-week period of suspension was proportionate in the circumstances, with Aki free to return to play on Monday, May 22, the day after next weekend's Champions Cup play-off with either Northampton or Gloucester.
Meanwhile in better news for the province, 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."