Manu Samoa have jumped to the defence of Bundee Aki, saying they will do whatever they can to try and stop the Irish centre from being suspended after he was red carded in last night's Rugby World Cup clash between the two nations.
Aki was sent off by referee Nic Berry midway through the first half of Ireland's 47-5 win over Samoa after his collision with Ulupano Seuteni was ruled as dangerous.
Before the contact, Seuteni had bent over slightly to collect the bouncing ball and as he looked to straighten up, was met by Aki whose shoulder collided with the first-five's head as he attempted to make a tackle.
Berry ruled there were no mitigating factors to reduce the red card to a yellow card, which leaves Aki - the record-extending seventh player to be sent off so far at the tournament - open to a possible ban that could see his World Cup campaign over.
Manu Samoa coach Steve Jackson insisted after the match there was no malice in the hit.
"I don't know if I should comment on it," Jackson said. "It's the mitigating factors again, whether they drop in height and those sort of things. As you all know, it's the toss of a coin at the moment."Nic Berry refereed the game well. I've known Bundee for a long time, and what a great man he is, he's got great character, and he doesn't go out there to do harm to anybody.
"Hopefully the powers that be see some sense and hopefully he gets to continue on in this tournament because he's a great kid and he deserves it as much as most.
"We'll do everything we possibly can from a Samoan perspective to make sure that he gets on that field next week.
"Was their malice in Bundee's tackle? No, he's just physical in the collisions, being a Samoan boy. There's always that mitigating factor about how low did someone go.
"Defenders have got to make decision within a split second. If you look at Bundee's tackle again, UJ came with the ball at pace, and I think he only had two or three metres to make a decision as to what sort of tackle he might put in. That's what they're asking the players to do now, in a split second you've got to make the right decision about what sort of tackle you're going to make, which is extremely difficult.
"I wish Bundee all the best."