Even Leinster fans are applauding this act of heroism from Will Skelton
Amid his onslaught of carries, offloads and rucks hit on Saturday in the Heineken Champions Cup final, there was one moment that eagle eyed viewers have spotted in La Rochelle lock Will Skelton’s game.
It came in the first half after the Australian had taken the ball into contact. After being halted by Robbie Henshaw and James Ryan, Skelton offloaded the ball his prop Reda Wardi, who was wrapping around the ruck. However, after receiving the ball, the prop’s knee collided with the head of Ryan, who was immediately struggling. Having seen what had happened, Skelton stood over Ryan while calling for referee Jaco Peyper to stop play.
Seeing as this was the biggest match of the season, and La Rochelle were under the pump at that moment in time, it would have been easy for Skelton to ignore his counterpart, but he has been lauded by fans from across the world for what he did at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
Take a look at the incident:
Skelton hovering over a vulnerable James Ryan looking for Peyper’s attention after the knock to the head 🤌🏻 #LEIvLAR pic.twitter.com/faCFD5pN1m
— Kenneth Hyland (@kennethphyland) May 20, 2023
Ryan was swiftly replaced by Jason Jenkins on 29 minutes, in what turned out to be one of the pivotal moments of the match unfortunately. La Rochelle were able to grow into the game from there after initially being blown off the park by Leinster, who raced to a 17-0 lead. In fact, Leinster boss Leo Cullen rued not building a bigger lead in the first half.
“Devastation is probably the word,” Cullen told BT Sport after the match.
“The occasion, the amazing atmosphere in the crowd, both sets of supporters and two sets of players going full at it – everything you want in a final which goes down to one point. Unfortunately we’re the losers.
“We started the game really well. We could have been further in front. I thought we gave up a couple of softish tries. In the second-half although we had the lead we struggled to get out of that end of the field.