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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.

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