EPCR probe halftime altercation involving O'Gara, Sexton and others
European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) has said that it will be investigating an alleged tunnel altercation that occurred during the halftime break of the Heineken Champions Cup final between Leinster and Stade Rochelais at the Aviva Stadium.
La Rochelle lifted the cup for the second year in a row after winning a thrilling 27-26 final but it seems it was a fixture with plenty of bad blood behind the scenes.
The Irish Independent report that coaches and players from both teams were involved in the incident, which made headlines late on Saturday night.
According to reports, the altercation involved several prominent figures from both camps. Among them were Ronan O’Gara, the former Munster player and current director of rugby at Stade Rochelais, Leinster’s injured flyhalf Johnny Sexton, Leinster coach Sean O’Brien, and Stade Rochelais lock Will Skelton. The exact details of the incident remains unclear at this point.
The governing body released a short statement regarding the incident, saying, “EPCR is aware of reports of an incident at half-time during the Heineken Champions Cup final at the Aviva Stadium, and the tournament organiser will be investigating this as soon as practicable. We have no further comment at this time.”
The statement highlights the seriousness of the alleged altercation and the need for a thorough examination of the events that unfolded.
La Rochelle captain Gregory Alldritt and O’Gara also claimed that they had been disrespected at the coin toss by James Ryan.
“I got word of it on the pitch,” said O’Gara about the Ryan incident with Alldritt. “My captain and I have a very close relationship. So bizarre action when you go for a toss. Normally you engage eyes, but no eyes were engaged so Greg was disappointed, let down.
“There was a little bit of that in terms of Leinster were obviously the home team, but in terms of accommodation for the family post-match gigs, I think we are in Lansdowne – we can’t even get a room in this place. You know, it’s disappointing on that front but we have got to accept that we are seen as the little team but that’s about to change.”
Meanwhile, the match itself was a closely contested affair. Leinster started strongly, with Dan Sheehan crossing the try line twice and Jimmy O’Brien once in the early stages, giving the home side a 17-0 lead. Stade Rochelais fought back valiantly, with Jonathan Danty and UJ Seuteni scoring tries to reduce the deficit. However, Ross Byrne’s boot kept Leinster in the lead, and they entered the final quarter with a 26-17 advantage.
The game took a dramatic turn when Leinster’s Ronan Kelleher was shown a yellow card in the 71st minute. Seizing the opportunity, Stade Rochelais capitalized on their numerical advantage, with Georges-Henri Colombe Reazel scoring a crucial try in the dying minutes. Antoine Hastoy’s conversion secured a narrow 27-26 lead for Stade Rochelais.
In the final moments, tensions rose, resulting in another yellow card, this time for Stade Rochelais’ Jonathan Danty. The match ended with Michael Ala’alatoa receiving a red card for Stade Rochelais, adding further drama to an already intense encounter.
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Gavin Hastings, was playing was he? 🤔Go to comments
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