Joe Schmidt sympathised with Bundee Aki as the Ireland centre faces the prospect of his World Cup being over because of the red card he picked up in Ireland’s 47-5 win over Samoa.
Ireland’s seven-try performance saw them clinch a quarter-final spot against either New Zealand or South Africa but Aki faces a nervous wait to see if he will be ruled of next weekend’s clash.
Ireland must wait until the disciplinary committee meet and decide upon a ban before they can attempt to appeal any decision.
Aki could face a three-week ban for the incident based on similar scenarios but whether Ireland decide to appeal will depend on how World Rugby adjudicate.
“It was a really tough situation,” Schmidt said in the post-match press conference.
“Bundee was upright, you can see both his hands behind the shoulder blades of the player, who is starting to come up. It’s split-second stuff. We live and hope and we’ll see what the judiciary will decide.
“But once a red card is issued you sense a loss of control, we know there’s a very hard line. Bundee is devastated because any further participation in the tournament is now at risk.
“We would be pretty disappointed if Bundee gets ruled out on the back of that tackle and I do genuinely say tackle because it was both arms forward at the shoulders, but there’s a very hard line being taken and we will have to accept the decision.”
Ireland could potentially learn their quarter-final opponents tonight as World Rugby are set to make a decision at midnight (UK & Ireland time) on whether the Pool A clash between Scotland and Japan will go ahead at the Yokohama Stadium.
Yokohama and the Tokyo area are currently in the midst of Typhoon Hagibis which has provided major disruption to the Rugby World Cup.