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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tomas O'Leary's controversial tackle on Cian Healy

Tomas O'Leary's controversial tackle on Cian Healy

If you missed the big Magners League semi final between Leinster and Munster on the weekend, you probably havent yet seen the tackle that divided opinion and put referee Nigel Owen under the spotlight as he dealt with it in rather controversial fashion.

As Leinster charged towards the line, prop Cian Healy looked certain to score but with the tryline beckoning, he was taken high by Munster scrumhalf Tomas OLeary, knocking him to the floor and dislodging the ball in what proved to be a try saving tackle.

While Healy did lean into it as he was swerving, OLeary hit him pretty high, riding up and making contact with the face with his shoulder. By all means it looked like it would normally be called a high tackle, particularly based on the way Healy dropped like a sack of spuds.

Referee Owens initially ruled it was just a knock on, but it then got interesting as he decided to refer it to the TMO, justifying it by saying it was in the act of scoring a try, despite the tackle happening almost five meters out.

As with most decisions in rugby, it comes down to the referees interpretation of the laws, but this seemed to be a bit of a stretch perhaps? The TMO said it was too far out anyway, so Owens reverted to a penalty, rather than just making the call for a yellow card or penalty try himself.

Such is the respect that Owens commands, he seemed in complete control of the situation the whole time, and basically just gave OLeary a talking to and warning.

So while theres obviously tension between Leinster and Munster fans at the best of times, I thought it would still be interesting to post this and see what the general opinion is regarding the way it was dealt with by the officials. As a bonus the only try of the match, scored by Rob Kearney, is included in this post.

Posted at 2:39 pm | 72 comments

Viewing 72 comments

Box May 19, 2010 5:19 pm

There is no way O'Leary would have stopped Healy had it been a legal tackle. Intentional or not, he stopped a try being scored in an illegal way and therefore it should have been a penalty try.

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Anonymous May 19, 2010 5:54 pm

Nailed

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Mike May 19, 2010 6:08 pm

Probably should have been a P. Try. But my word, for a small guy, O'Leary is a huge tackler. Remember his hit on Benoit Baby in the European Cup a couple of years ago?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4wKr3DgynA&feature=related

I thought it was a simple run-in for Baby, he probably thought he'd just run over O'Leary. This man is the Anit-O'Gara.

View Video

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Mike May 19, 2010 6:09 pm

*ahem* 'Anti-O'Gara'

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jackohos May 19, 2010 6:14 pm

High tackle which prevented a probable try being scored - penalty try and a yellow.

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JK May 19, 2010 6:15 pm

That's really bad. Yellow and penalty try

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Anonymous May 19, 2010 6:20 pm

High tackle, but I don't think it was intentional. Fair play to O'Leary. Cian Healy is shit!

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Anonymous May 19, 2010 6:21 pm

During the match, they kept saying he hit below shoulders and rose up. It looks like his shoulder hit Healey straight in the face / jaw. His arm hit below the shoulders and then rose up.

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Anonymous May 19, 2010 7:02 pm

His knee was lucky to be in one piece as he fell as well

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Anonymous May 19, 2010 7:08 pm

thats a straight to the face tackle 5 meters from the try line... i guess its a penalty try

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cheyanqui May 19, 2010 7:10 pm

Existential cop out by the referee to say "in the act of scoring the try"

He was too slow to call it on the pitch, so he's stretching the laws to make up for his blown call.

The TMO returns the favor by blowing the call of no penalty try, and no recommendation for a card.

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cheyanqui May 19, 2010 7:11 pm

@anon --
You're right about the knee. There was a Georgian hooker playing Top 14 a few weeks back who broke his ankle when he got hit by a swinging arm.

He fell like such a heap he broke it for himself.

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Cymro May 19, 2010 7:11 pm

To be fair Owens on his FB page did say that he got the decision wrong by going to the TMO.

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cheyanqui May 19, 2010 7:13 pm

again on the existential cop out..

If the referee can convince himself to use the TMO to rule on the foul play -- he said it was in the act of scoring the try.

How then could the penalty NOT be a penalty try?

Somehow it was in the act of scoring the try, yet too far out to award the Penalty Try (w/ Yellow).

Logically inconsistent

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Mezza1982 October 19, 2011 9:48 am

Spot on, that's the referee's call - if he says it's in the act of scoring a try then he has to go under the posts. He shouldn't have then asked the TMO if it was too far out.

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Darren May 19, 2010 7:23 pm

The initial hit is to the shoulder which makes it accidental. Should have been a penalty try but not a sin bin in my opinion. On a seperate issue what a stop. A scrumhalf stopping a lose head one on one two meters out. Not bad.

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Anonymous May 19, 2010 7:30 pm

" JK said...
That's really bad. Yellow and penalty try"
+1 !!!!

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Bobby May 19, 2010 7:35 pm

Healy was owned!!! BOOOM! Perfactly legal too, he initially hit him on the shoulder if he slips up its a penalty and nothing more. Anybody saying that he could only stop him with a high tackle obviously hasnt seen his tackle on Benoit Baby! O'Leary is tough as nails!!!

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cain healy May 19, 2010 7:38 pm

well done o Leary... its a fucking mans game....

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HamletScrummed May 19, 2010 7:39 pm

That was clearly intentional-- O'Leary had no body behind that tackle; it was a one-arm clothesline desperation tackle (that was extremely effective). He may not have meant to drop Healy like a sack of rocks, but he meant to stop him definitively by any means available.

As for whether or not it was a definite try, I probably would have granted the penalty try. But I have seen what I thought were going to be unstoppable tries get stopped within 5 meters, let alone outside, so maybe Owen was trying to be too impartial?

Either way, though-- that tackle was intentionally high. No doubt in my mind.

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Anrowa May 19, 2010 7:44 pm

The initial hit was not to the shoulder, it was a direct hit square in the middle of his face. Penalty try and yellow, period.

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Anonymous May 19, 2010 8:28 pm

yellow card and or penelty try... bad call nigel

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(u-p)rick May 19, 2010 8:31 pm

'cain healy said...
well done o Leary... its a fucking mans game....'

Dont all you guys think the world is a odd place....i mean look at the above...This guy is just trying to be a fucker right...WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THIS VIDEO?!? "Tomas O'Leary's controversial tackle on Cian Healey"

HIS NAME IS IN THE TITLE, WHICH RIGHT NOW IS ABOUT 4 Inches away from where this message is being typed,....yet you still spelt it wrong.....




Anyway, onto the video...i gotta say i'd go with yellow and penalty try...

Ditto on the comment about Healey's knee/leg...those were my thoughts initially!

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james May 19, 2010 8:43 pm

Was at the game and even after now letting my emotions calm down, still cannot understnad how it is not a penalty try and a yellow. I do not think it was intentional but it was a swinging arm, half of which hit healy square in the face.
O'Leary may be big for a 9 but I do not think he would have stopped healy from getting the further 3 or 4 yards he needed for the score. A hit on a centre like a Baby is not a comparison to an International prop. Healy also a lot of pace for a front row-er and it was a dangerous tackle that stopped a certain try. Thankfully the match did not centre around this as the result would not have been different was the decision the one I had hoped for it to be.

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mat May 19, 2010 8:44 pm

really am i watching a different video.
not a penalty try because the ball was lost in the initial hit on the shoulder. watch it again, he does rise up though and has got round his neck breifly.
just a penalty seems fair.
gotta say using TMO got the right descision but dont want to see it being used for everything within 5m of try line!

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Pale sun May 19, 2010 8:46 pm

I'm not surprised. Owens often plays like the 16th Munster player on the field...

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Anonymous May 19, 2010 8:50 pm

the big lump healy fairly made the most out of it

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Netherlands May 19, 2010 9:03 pm

Penalty try and yellow!

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andy May 19, 2010 9:17 pm

Pen try and yellow. That's fairly obvious. And fair play to the prop for getting up again, that must have killed a few brain cells.

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(u-p)rick May 19, 2010 9:20 pm

I was gonna say, im glad for the sake of the game and the sake of the constant moaning this was not a game winning (or losing, whichever way you view it) decision.....

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Flooz May 19, 2010 10:01 pm

i love when some people try to justify the cheap shots of their favorite players.
RD just highlight 2 videos with 2 players: Botha and O'leary who are often at the extreme limit of the legality. (i have to say that a good scrum half to be sneaky :))

But with all respect i have for o'leary, that tackle was just high and with his shoulder.
It was penalty try or yellow card.
As usual, Owens prove that he is the official referee of Munster...

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Mike May 19, 2010 10:40 pm

Flooz - I think everyone agrees that it was a yellow card, a penalty try, or both...and I'm a Munster supporter :)
But as I said, O'Leary is a very tough guy, even if this hit wasn't one of his best.

By the way, nicely worked try by Leinster too.

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Anonymous May 19, 2010 11:00 pm

This rugby is soft and gay.

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Vassili May 19, 2010 11:05 pm

Penalty try

or

Penalty and Yellow

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mise May 19, 2010 11:14 pm

his facebook page actually says: "I made a mistake in going to the TMO for the tackle on Healy in the Leinster v Munster match, I should have stuck with my original decesion and awarded the scrum for a knock on...... thank god it did not effect the result of the match...."

Which is insane! A load of morons cheer him on over there, agreeing.

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Anonymous May 19, 2010 11:56 pm

Quite suprised Healy went down so easily? Poor/nasty(?) attempt at a tackle. Should have been a penalty try IMO. For all the "what a tackle crowd", I don't think he ever was a pushover in contact but my word has he bulked up in the last 12 months or so!

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Xavier May 20, 2010 12:10 am

Well, first thing i though when seing the vid was "OMFG, hes not going to walk in a long, long time". What a freaking odd position, the one of his knee. Fragily thing a knee, when taken in comparison to Healy's build.

But I must go with yellow and penalty try.

Reckless, dangerous and illegal

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johnny May 20, 2010 1:23 am

Doesn't look intentional to me either. Penalty try yes, yellow...doubtful. Healy took a drop step into a power drive prior to the hit. Shoulder meets jaw for a strong hit, ableit high.

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Anonymous May 20, 2010 1:43 am

Why did Healy try and step back inside there? Should have just put the head down and barged through O'Leary, he only had to make a couple of yards. Instead, he tried the glory finish. Will be interesting to see how he makes out down under this summer.

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darren May 20, 2010 3:26 am

cheyanqui said...If the referee can convince himself to use the TMO to rule on the foul play -- he said it was in the act of scoring the try. How then could the penalty NOT be a penalty try? Somehow it was in the act of scoring the try, yet too far out to award the Penalty Try (w/ Yellow). Logically inconsistent

As a neutral I agree entirely Cheyanqui, and I've seen penalty tries given for a lot less. Whether it was intentional or not is irrelevant, his hand was on the shoulder but his upper arm clearly takes him high and the head goes back.
For Owen to say that he should've just called a scrum is ridiculous, presumably he's seen the same video .. no wonder TMOs so often get it wrong. But that's sport I guess.

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Anonymous May 20, 2010 8:00 am

If that had been another team bar Munster it would have been a yellow or a penalty try

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Anonymous May 20, 2010 8:42 am

A penalty try must result in a yellow card to the offending player. Its in the law book fellas

Stu

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Anonymous May 20, 2010 8:54 am

" Why did Healy try and step back inside there? Should have just put the head down and barged through O'Leary, he only had to make a couple of yards. Instead, he tried the glory finish. Will be interesting to see how he makes out down under this summer. "

I've a feeling that Healy and a lot of the more questionable players are really going to struggle in the summer tests. Should be interesting to see if Irealnd can live up to their recently deflated hype.

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Anonymous May 20, 2010 9:17 am

^^^I think everybody in Ireland is expecting a pasting down under this summer. Our older players look tired and we have too many injuries.

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Mike May 20, 2010 9:32 am

^^^^

Agreed. I think after so many front-line players playing through the Lions tour, plus the age profile of several of them, we are going to get our usual beating down South.

Of course, when we beat the world champions at the end of their season last year, it was because they were tired, injured and didn't care. When we lose under the same conditions, it will be because we are rubbish :)

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bob May 20, 2010 9:46 am

Anyone who's ever been high-tackled or given a high tackle knows that the player being hit high loses all momentum instantly. It's a natural reflex. That's why Healy went down like a sack of potatoes.

With lighter players their legs often follow through underneath them and the tackle looks a lot worse.



If you watch O'Leary's hit on Baby he had his full body behind baby and took an awful impact on the ground with Baby coming down on him.

If he did the same with Healy he'd have broken ribs with Healy coming down on top of him, that's why he only risked his shoulder and arm, to me it's a cowardly way of tackling that guys with good upper body strength often get away with.

The best tackle on a charging front-row has to be Denis Hickie against France back in 2000 (ish). He went low and hard and stopped a sure try legally.

That was before rugby league defence coaches started plying their trade in Union though.

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Anonymous May 20, 2010 10:01 am

You just got knocked the fuck out.

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Anonymous May 20, 2010 10:08 am

It was a clothesline rather than a tackle.
Too far out? i laughed so hard at that he was about a metre from the line lol with no covering tacklers

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Fester May 20, 2010 10:32 am

It's clear that O'Leary wasn't going to charge a hight tackle on Healy, and he had a chance to stop try from being scored. Yet there was a high tackle and due to it Munster suffered 3 points. Good example of good judgement.

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hasif May 20, 2010 10:46 am

(u-p)rick said...

'cain healy said...
well done o Leary... its a fucking mans game....'

Dont all you guys think the world is a odd place....i mean look at the above...This guy is just trying to be a fucker right...WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THIS VIDEO?!? "Tomas O'Leary's controversial tackle on Cian Healey"

HIS NAME IS IN THE TITLE, WHICH RIGHT NOW IS ABOUT 4 Inches away from where this message is being typed,....yet you still spelt it wrong.....

Healey or Healy????
(u-p)rick you need to wear extra lens spectacles

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Kenny May 20, 2010 11:18 am

As per usual Munsters Alan Quinlan and Ronan O Fucking Gara whining to Owens throughout while they wiat for the TMO's decision, pathetic

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Anonymous May 20, 2010 11:38 am

Either Way Munster Lost! Good Days Work Leinster

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MCB May 20, 2010 12:13 pm

Hardly say that Owens is Munster's ref. This is only stemming from the fact that he was the referee for Munster's knock-out games in the 2008 H Cup. Fair enough Munster won it, but people forget that Owens was also the referee for all of Leinster's knock out games in the 2009 H Cup (including the semi-final over Munster, in which a few serious decisions went against Munster) which they went on to win. Once again there is no solid reason behind the argument that Owens is Munster's ref.

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edbok May 20, 2010 12:28 pm

Looked pretty deliberate, and dangerous. Definitely yellow, PT is a borderline call, you could understand either decision by the ref.

Don't know what the heck the TMO was supposed to do, pretty sure he's got no authority to advise that a PT should or should not be awarded.

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(u-p)rick May 20, 2010 12:44 pm

Mike: 'But as I said, O'Leary is a very tough guy, even if this hit wasn't one of his best.'

I dont quite see what O'leary being a tough guy has to do with anything?!?

Hasif, the title has been changed, the e was in there, i copied and pasted it....and i was referring to the cian being cain....

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RD May 20, 2010 12:49 pm

Your comment actually made me notice the typo in Healy's name in the title. My mistake, but thanks for drawing my attention to it anyway

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Anonymous May 20, 2010 1:04 pm

Nigel Owens Munster's best friend haha...

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Anonymous May 20, 2010 1:37 pm

Ok....it was a high tackle yes.

But why the hell do leinster fans need to bring in sad soccer and hill 16 chants into the game of rugby?? Very set of people!!

Connacht Rugby fan.

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Chris Boy May 20, 2010 3:36 pm

that is a fucking shocking decision. the most blatant penalty try i've ever seen.

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Joseph May 20, 2010 4:54 pm

I'm not a fan of either teams, but love watching this massive game every year.

It was high and should have been a penalty try at least. Having Said that, Owens managed to come out of it smelling of roses and Kearney's try was awesome.

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Anonymous May 20, 2010 7:40 pm

Penalty try and yellow card. I'm sorry i know there was no intention but thats what should have happened. It can be unfortunate and unfair, such as Charlie Sharples red card against Newcastle, but that way atleast the law is being laid out and used properly.

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Huh!! the 3rd May 20, 2010 8:06 pm

Kearney's try is a move Leinster have been playing for years, Ire have done it to great effect too, SA Nov '06, Wales Feb '07 and Scot Mar '10. Is it that good that it can't be defended, or was O'Driscoll's obstruction on JdV too blatant?

In a way, I'm glad Munster lost. Hopefully it'll lead to some players being dropped, Horan, Hayes, I'm looking at you. Dave Ryan did very well when he replaced the hapless 'BULL'. He's 23, is already a better scrummager than all those selected for Summer tour and can play both sides. Now if MccGahan has the cojones to start him inside of the other 2 clowns.

Also. I've commented here previously about some of the hyperbole that goes with Munster fans, Grace of God shit and so on (I should know, I'm one), but the Leinster (or LONSTOR if your D4) fans chanting 'allez les blues' has to take the medal. Its alright if Leinster are playing a French side, better if its in France, and beating them, chant all you want, but in an Irish derby!!!; Retarded.

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Anonymous May 21, 2010 12:19 am

Any one who thinks that was intentional should check the footage again, Healy was clearly caught around the shoulders and O'Leary made a definite attempt at a tackle. It's absurd to think he would intentionally hurt a fellow international.
Have to say the Leinster supporters chanting was disgraceful at times just like it was last September. That kind of behaviour belongs at football matches

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Joeschmo May 21, 2010 4:49 am

It's definitely a high tackle, the issue is not his arm being high, but the fact that his right shoulder smacks the prop right in the jaw.

That's why his legs buckle, he got knocked out. That floppy leg thing is the same thing you see in boxing and MMA when a punch hits at just the right angle to knock the brain up against the skull and turn the lights out for a few seconds.

I doubt it was malicious, but definitely warranted a penalty and arguable a try.

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Kenny May 21, 2010 9:05 am

"but the Leinster (or LONSTOR if your D4)"

You mean the GOYS

Lunsters are people from Leinster particularly around D4 walking around with Munster jerseys on.

"but the Leinster (or LONSTOR if your D4) fans chanting 'allez les blues' has to take the medal. Its alright if Leinster are playing a French side, better if its in France, and beating them, chant all you want, but in an Irish derby!!!; Retarded."

SOUR GRAPES mate; as a Munster fan id say it was horrible being at the RDS especially when Heaslip used Ronan O fucking Gara as a mobile shoe shine!!

"Have to say the Leinster supporters chanting was disgraceful at times just like it was last September. That kind of behaviour belongs at football matches"

What are the fans meant to do; sit down and stay quiet; its a provincial derby and in September Munster lost it 30-0. Now if thats not a reason for Leinster fans to chant and be merry, what is.

Get over it Munster fans including Lunsters

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Manu May 21, 2010 10:26 am

That's a clear illegal high tackle. To me, it deserves a penalty try because it prevents from scoring. Plus, as it is dangerous, I would give a yellow card.

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Ben May 21, 2010 1:39 pm

Further to Bob's comment about best try saving tackles on props, the one that sticks out for me is "the crystal" Szarzewski's hit on Vickery in the Eng v Fr 'friendly' game at Twickenham before the 2007 World Cup.

And I have to comment on this about all the nonsense posted above. Those thinking O'Leary hit the shoulder first and slid up, what video are they watching? O'Leary's upper arm snacks into Healy's chin, while his wrist hits the shoulder. If Healy's head had been up, it would have been on his throat. Clearly high, and should be a penalty try and yellow card.

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Chucky May 21, 2010 2:27 pm

Wow, scrunhalve poleaxing a prop on full charge hahaha love it. . . that said . Penalty try ;)

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Anonymous May 21, 2010 7:40 pm

penalty try, leave it at that!

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Huh!! the 3rd May 21, 2010 8:26 pm

Kenny

I actually didn't mind O'Gara being done. Not like it hasn't happened before. I'm a fan of great bollocking charges whether its for or against my team. Also, I agree with your comments to the anon below me. Its fair game. Munster fans had their oportunities up until last season, now the Leinster fans have bragging rights. That doesn't bother me unlike some of my fickle co supporters.

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deadeyedave May 22, 2010 8:08 am

Perfectly legal tackle which ended high, penalty given, correct decision cut the moaning, end of story.

Except...........Cian Healey did a Hollywood! Did he lie down due to embarrassment at blowing a certain try. The I'm poleaxed routine wasn't a pretty sight from Mr Tough Guy.

Cian Healey could develop into the prop that Ireland needs but I wish he would play rugby, stop running his mouth and learn his trade.

For the record I am NOT a Munsterman.

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Johnno May 22, 2010 7:24 pm

'It's absurd to think he would intentionally hurt a fellow international.'

An anonymous stated this above somewhere, personally without trying to cause offence it is that comment that is absurd.....

When I was a schoolboy we had a damn good first team set up (i'll add i was in it) So obviously our players were pretty key and losing a good player was frustrating, BUT we also used to do a 'House Sevens' tournament, this was where each of our school houses played against each other...

When you are in a team you play for that team, you dont play for tomorrows team or next weeks team, or last weeks team!!! We'd probably come out with more black eyes and injuries from one sevens tournament than a whole year of first team rugby....

So to say he wouldnt hurt a fellow international...is ridiculous, i doubt international crossed his mind when making that tackle....well perhaps 'trysaver, give me kudos so i get selected' ....but nothing about Cian

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