Leinster upset by Johnson incident

Date published: January 24 2015

Leinster head coach Matt O’Connor was frustrated at losing Dave Kearney after only 17 seconds from Ashley Johnson’s rash challenge.

The Wasps back-rower took out Kearney in the air right from the kickoff, seeing yellow for his actions.

Leinster lost Kearney to injury after he fell awkwardly, with O’Connor also revealing that scrum-half Eoin Reddan picked up an injury.

The former Leicester coach’s annoyance at losing Kearney so early on was evident in his post-match comments.

“Dave (Kearney) has got a bang on his shoulder. It’s significant and he could be out for several weeks. Eoin Reddan has a medial strain on his knee,” said O’Connor.

“The frustration for us is we lose a bloke for 80 minutes; they lose a bloke for 10 minutes.

“Now that doesn’t make sense to me, but I haven’t seen the incident again.

“I don’t know whether it was right or wrong. A bloke takes a guy out illegally, and we lose a guy which compromises the bench, and they lose a bloke for 10 minutes.

“There is a duty of care on the player to make sure guys land safely.”

Wasps boss Dai Young thought the decision to yellow card Johnson was the right one, while admitting it could have been interpreted differently.

“I thought it was the right decision, but they have gone the other way in the past as well. But to me I thought it was the right call really.

“It didn’t help our cause – that’s for sure. It takes the wind out of your sails when you want to start big and it means you’ve got to patch up in other areas.”

As for the contest itself, O’Connor praised Leinster’s defence for keeping a dangerous Wasps outfit fairly quiet.

“I was hoping we’d just hold on and Goodey would miss,” added O’Connor.

“We defended very well. I thought our defence was outstanding against a very, very dangerous side, for the most of it.”

Young added that progressing to the last eight was now out of Wasps’ hands following the draw at their new stadium in Coventry, with the club now relying on other results.

“We’re very disappointed. We’ve probably got a slim chance of going through, but we’ve relinquished control,” added Young.

“Sarries and Bath are in the mix, but we need teams to do us favours. If we do get a bit of luck, we’d be thrilled to be in the knockout stages.

“I think we’ve shown our quality. Everyone wrote us off after we lost our first two games.

“If it’s not enough, it should make us all the more determined to come in that top six in the Premiership and have another crack at it next season.

“I’m sure we’ve learned from the whole experience and will be better for it.”