Bundee Aki is "extremely apologetic" after his red card during Connacht's defeat to the Stormers and will remain in South Africa to help the team prepare for Friday's game against the Vodacom Bulls.

Aki was sent off for the third time in career after a dangerous clear-out on Stormers wing Seabelo Senatla, ten minutes after coming off the bench in the 38-15 defeat in Stellenbosch, and remonstrated with both referee Gianluca Gnecchi and the touchline officials after his dismissal.

Senatla could face a lengthy spell on the sidelines, with the Stormers awaiting scan results.

Connacht forwards coach Dewald Senekal said Aki had apologised to his team-mates.

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Bernard Jackman and Fiona Coghlan expect Aki to be given a lengthy ban following his sending-off against the Stormers

"The red card was basically a big old 14-point swing," said Senekal. "It was a nice action getting us behind the line but unfortunately, in the modern game, we know from the start of the season it is something that World Rugby has clamped down on a lot.

"Back in my day, I would have gotten away with a few of those but unfortunately now with the new rules and how that's been been managed, three or four centimeters to the left it would have been maybe have been a different outcome. But at this stage it's a red card.

"Bundee's been extremely apologetic about it. In the moment, we love him to bits for his youthful energy. He might have reacted wrongfully towards the ref in that moment but I think he was just looking for a clear response.

"He's been he's been with us all week trying to help the boys prepare as well as we can for for the next game."

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The RTÉ Rugby panel discussed Aki's dismissal against the Stormers and his "confrontational" behaviour towards the match officials

Connacht have started the season with two disappointing defeats and they face another difficult test on Friday when they face the Bulls at altitude in Pretoria.

Aki will miss that match and could also be sidelined for the home games against Munster and Leinster next month, and Senekal said it will hurt the centre to not be able to contribute on the pitch.

"Bundee loves Connacht rugby," he said. "Every day he comes in, he brings his energy and he always wants the team to do well.

"Even last year in pre-season when he wasn't supposed to be training with us, when he's on his conditioning program, he's always on the field.

"He's always coaching the boys and pushing them from behind. He wants to have positive influences for the province because he loves it so much.

"Quite often in games, when he's 24th or 25th and not involved, all of a sudden you'll have him on the on the coaches' radios. He's taken the coach's radio downstairs and he and he's giving us clues from pitchside. That's just how passionate he is.

"We obviously would love for him to be available for us but that's rugby. We need to be a little bit more clever around around that.

"I think one of the frustrations for us in these first two games has been how long we've taken to adapt to, not interpretations because we knew exactly what they were, but we've just been giving away too many silly penalties and feeding oppositions free entries to our 22 and letting them off the hook."

Connacht scrum-half Caolin Blade will return to Ireland to assess the extent of the ankle injury he suffered against the Stormers, but captain Jack Carthy has joined the squad in South Africa and could make his first appearance of the season against the Bulls.