La Rochelle captain Gregory Alldritt claims that Leinster skipper James Ryan “didn’t respect” him in the captain’s toss ahead of the Champions Cup final on Saturday.
Alldritt, who was awarded man of the match in the showpiece game, put in an inspired performance to guide his side to their second consecutive title.
It did not go all La Rochelle’s way as Leinster shot to an imposing 17-0 lead in the first quarter with three quick tries. However, the French side, under the leadership of Alldritt, managed to keep their heads in the game and began formulating their comeback.
Coin toss incident
After the clash, the French star revealed that Ryan did not look him in the eye when they shook hands before the game and Alldritt believes those actions lacked respect.
“He didn’t look in my eyes when we shook hands,” said the number eight.
“He didn’t respect me.”
He added: “It’s something that we mustn’t get used to it. We have a lot of values in this club and respect is part of it.
“At 17-0, we managed to reverse the trend and switch at half-time to 23-14.
“The dynamic was for us. We decided that the lost finals were over and that we want trophies. It’s just incredible. It’s a match that is played with 23 and not with 15.”
La Rochelle boss Ronan O’Gara said he heard about the incident before the game and underlined Alldritt’s disappointment.
“Yeah, I got word of it down on the pitch,” O’Gara said.
“Obviously, I have a close relationship with my captain. A bizarre action when they were going for the toss.
“Normally you engage eyes and no eyes were engaged. Greg was disappointed and let down.”
More to come
O’Gara also took time to praise his players for finding a way and insists there is still more to come for this team.
“I’m really proud of them. They found a solution,” he said.
“It’s why we’re in rugby. We’re getting into the territory of being a special team but it’s just the start.”
The former Munsterman believes the grit and ability of his side to dig deep and find a way back into the game makes them worthy of being champions.
“We were on the ropes big time. We were being steamrolled,” O’Gara said.
“Within 11 minutes it’s 17-0 so you’re not a long way from getting hosed, which wasn’t the plan coming here.
“The boys really care, they could have jumped ship but they dug in, they showed worldly resolve and are worthy champions.”