‘Absolute mare’ – Irish pundits slammed for bizarre criticism of Kurt-Lee Arendse after Springboks flyer hit with ‘abysmal’ head shot

Colin Newboult
Luke McGrath's attempted tackle on Kurt-Lee Arendse during Leinster v Bulls clash in 2024.

Luke McGrath's attempted tackle on Kurt-Lee Arendse during Leinster v Bulls clash in 2024.

Leinster scrum-half Luke McGrath was perhaps fortunate to only receive a yellow card after his attempted cover tackle on Springboks flyer Kurt-Lee Arendse.

The incident happened towards the end of the first half of the Irish province’s United Rugby Championship clash with the Bulls.

After the South African side had put together a fine attack to send Arendse free on the outside, the wing duly touched down in the corner.

Going in at pace

However, he had to fend off the covering McGrath, who went in far too high and ended up making head contact with the Springbok.

The scrum-half was duly yellow carded after it was reviewed, but many on social media felt it should have been a harsher punishment.

Fortunately, Arendse was not hurt after touching down but it was a poor attempted tackle by the Ireland playmaker.

Most agreed that McGrath should have received a red card, which would have left the hosts down to 14 men with over half of the contest remaining.

The Bulls had reduced the arrears to 12-11 with that Arendse try and would go on to lead 14-12 at the break, but Leinster showed their class in the second period, scoring 35 unanswered points for a 47-14 triumph.

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The decision not to red card the scrum-half was certainly a talking point, with one person writing on X, formerly Twitter: “Lucky boy. That’s a stonewall straight red card. Also lucky not to seriously injure Arendse or himself.”

Another added: “That’s absolutely abysmal from McGrath. He had so much time to work out what to do and he just threw his whole body weight at him hoping to push him into touch (from 5m in field?)”


Oddly, the pundits appeared to blame the South Africa wing for the collision, with former Ireland internationals Ian Madigan and Alan Quinlan critical of Arendse.

Quinlan stated that the flyer should have slid in for the score, but that did not go down well, with one person putting: “Why is Alan Quinlan blaming Arendse for McGraths crap tackle technique?”

Madigan took a similarly dim view of what Arendse did, which left viewers bemused.

“Ian Madigan having an absolute mare! Arendse had to protect himself from a man coming full tilt and completely upright. McGrath should have got a red for that. Arendse was entitled to protect himself from a head on head collision!” Conor Counihan wrote.

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