Michael Ala’alatoa banned after Champions Cup final red
Leinster and Samoa tighthead Michael Ala’alatoa has received a three week ban following his red card against La Rochelle in the Heineken Champions Cup final on Saturday at the Aviva Stadium.
The 31-year-old was dismissed by Jaco Peyper in the 79th minute for making contact with the head of counterpart Georges-Henri Colombe at a ruck while Leinster were camped on their opponent’s line.
From Leinster’s perspective, the penalty effectively extinguished their chances of winning the match, as possession was given to La Rochelle who were in turn able to keep the ball for the final seconds and secure back to back European titles. From Ala’alatoa’s perspective, the clear out looked like it was always going to result in a ban and he has subsequently been charged with contravening Law 9.20(a)- A player must not charge into a ruck or maul. Charging includes any contact made without binding onto another player in the ruck or maul. Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.20(a) carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks.
The prop was initially banned for six weeks, but that was halved due to his clean disciplinary record. That means he will still miss Samoa’s upcoming Tests in July against Japan and Fiji, and one in August against Tonga. However, that does mean he will be eligible to play in the World Cup, which begins in September 16 for Samoa, when they take on Chile in Bordeaux.
This was the red card:
Though a player was eventually punished for illegal rucking, plenty online have questioned how it took until the final minutes of the match for a player to be carded for this. That is because both sides attacked the breakdown with such ferocity, that their intensity frequently spilled over into the territory of dangerous play.