Leinster called out for highly dangerous tactic
The officiating at the breakdown during the Heineken Champions Cup final is something that has been called into question this week by fans and pundits.
A hugely compelling game was maybe helped by the fact that players were allowed to generate quick ball at the ruck in any way they saw fit. Referee Jaco Peyper was pretty liberal with his officiating at the breakdown, and while that does create a great contest, safety concerns have been raised.
Leinster benefitted from extremely quick ruck ball in the first half of the final, while it was La Rochelle who profited in the second half. But some of their rucking techniques have been highlighted online, and they look far from safe. But when a team has momentum going forward and playing at a high tempo, it is understandable that some things are missed at the breakdown due to the speed of play.
One fan has shown three Leinster players flying into what looks like Will Skelton at a ruck, hitting him at different angles. Another shows Garry Ringrose smashing into Levani Botia not only from the completely wrong side of the ruck, but with no arms either. The final clip is indeed the red card to Michael Ala’latoa in the final minutes of the match.
Take a look at the clips from Twitter:
Just three examples from yesterday. Just three. There is going to be a life changing injury in a Leinster game eventually and I don’t want to be there to see it.
Playing on the edge is one thing. We love the dark arts. This is a step above. #leinster #leinsterlarochelle https://t.co/z4cJaEbgxz pic.twitter.com/iHLthgvDoP
— keelan (@explodingsoftly) May 21, 2023
Of course, La Rochelle were not squeaky clean either. Fans have highlighted instances online of where their rucking was dubious, chiefly in Georges-Henri Colombe’s match-winning try, which saw Thomas Lavault clatter into the head of Ala’alatoa. However, Leinster seem to be receiving the brunt of criticism online, partly as this is a longstanding criticism of the team (and Ireland). While they are famed for their lightening quick ruck speed, the methods in which they achieve that is increasingly called into question.