EPCR opened an investigation after ‘an incident’ at Leinster-La Rochelle half-time

By Arnaud Coudry



Stade Rochelais manager Ronan O’Gara is believed to be involved in an incident at half-time in the final. PAUL ELLIS / AFP

An incident reportedly took place at half-time in the final, involving Ronan O’Gara, Will Skelton, Jonathan Sexton and Sean O’Brien, among others.

Special Envoy to Dublin

The rumor spread at half-time in the final between Leinster and Stade Rochelais. The Irish Daily The Irish Examiner was the first to report it: a scuffle took place after the locker room, in the tunnel leading to the Aviva Stadium locker room, between members of the two teams. The manager of Stade Rochelais, the Irishman Ronan O’Gara, would have approached the referee of the meeting, the South African Jaco Peyper, to slip him a few words, which would have angered Sean O’Brien, former third line of Leinster now in the staff of the Dublin province.

Tempers would then have heated, involving in particular the opener of Leinster, Jonathan Sexton, injured but present at the stadium, and the Australian second-line of Stade Rochelais, Will Skelton. For the moment, no element has been revealed concerning the exact nature of this incident. Still, the EPCR, which organizes the competition, initially informed theIrish Examiner that an investigation into this incident had been opened.

“The tournament organizer will investigate this matter as soon as possible”

Information that was confirmed to us in the evening by the authority: “EPCR is aware of reports of an incident during half-time of the Champions Cup Final at the Aviva Stadium. The tournament organizer will investigate this matter as soon as possible. We have no further comment at this time.”

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During the post-match press conference, the third line and captain of La Rochelle, Grégory Alldritt, expressed tension and lack of respect from the Irish, even before kick-off. The number 8 of the XV of France explained that the captain of the Leinstermen, James Ryan, would have disrespected him during the pre-match toss.

“Already from the toss, they did not respect us”

There were several moments when we felt that the game could change. Already from the toss, they did not respect us. He (James Ryan) didn’t look me in the eye when he shook my hand. And that should not be done…What confirmed Ronan O’Gara, present at his side: “Yes, I have heard of it. I have a very close relationship with my captain. And that’s a weird attitude as they were going to do the draw.”

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The manager of Stade Rochelais – former emblematic player of Munster, the hereditary enemy of Leinster – also expressed his disappointment with the conditions of reception of his team in the Irish capital. “We are at Lansdowne (district where the stadium is located), we couldn’t get any rooms near this place. It’s disappointing, but we have to accept that we are still seen as a small team. But that is about to change…” Already very rough on the ground, the relations between the two teams were clearly frozen this Saturday. Investigation to follow.

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