Rugby

Bundee Aki Apologises For Confronting Ref After Connacht Concede Late Try

Bundee Aki Apologises For Confronting Ref After Connacht Concede Late Try

Connacht’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Champions Cup for the first time were dealt a heavy blow after a heartbreaking last minute defeat to Leicester at the Sportsground today.

Having been 28-10 up early in the second half, Connacht were pegged back and lost 29-28.

Leicester - who currently sit atop the Premiership - began the game superbly, taking a 10-0 lead and scoring two tries in the process through Joe Heyes and their powerful Fijian winger Kini Murimurivalu.

Connacht responded brilliantly and roared back with two tries of their own through Tiernan O'Halloran and Cian Prendrgast.

15 January 2022; Cian Prendergast of Connacht scores his side's second try despite the tackle of Ellis Genge of Leicester Tigers during the Heineken Champions Cup Pool B match between Connacht and Leicester Tigers at The Sportsground in Galway. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

The home side went into halftime with a 14-10 lead, and momentum which carried over to the second half, with Connacht scoring tries in the 43rd and 48th minutes, giving them a 28-10 lead.

Advertisement

However, it soon became apparent that they would have a stern test on their hands to hold onto he lead, as they opted to kick possession back to Leicester and hold the lead rather than remain on the offensive.

Leicester’s bench was also the stronger of the two sides, with ex-Ireland U20s player Dan Kelly making a significant impact. Finlay Bealham’s departure was a massive blow to Connacht as well and sent their already creaking scrum into further disarray.

Leicester began their comeback with a score through Murimurivalu in the 55th minute before adding another through Charlie Clare in the 71st minute. Freddie Burns - brother of Ulster’s Billy - added the extras and set up a tense finale.

The tense finish was ultimately won by the away side as they snatched the win with a brilliant corner finish from Hosea Saumaki who managed to keep his feet out of touch by the slimmest of margins.

Advertisement

It appeared from one camera angle that Saumaki's foot had touched the end line but upon further inspection a try was rightly given.

However, moments before the try, Paul Boyle of Connacht could have won a penalty.

Connacht fans and players were irate with ref Mathieu Raynal after the try was awarded. Bundee Aki was especially incensed but took to social media after the game to issue an apology.

It was one of those games that will have Connacht fans in a slump for weeks to come, but on the bright side they did mange to come away with two bonus points, and keep their hopes of reaching the last-16 well and truly alive.

See Also: Peter O'Mahony's Comments On Ashling Murphy Were So Important

Ashling Murphy Peter O'Mahony

Colman Stanley
Article written by
A sportswriter with a big interest in rugby and golf. Anything with a good story.

You may also like