It is time for Planet Rugby’s Sunday Social, your quirky recap of the serious and not so serious talking points from the past week’s action.
We of course start with the PRO14 final as Leinster claimed their third successive triumph. They produced another clinical display but they were stunned early on by this superb score from Ulster.
JAMES HUME TAKE A BOW 😱
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) September 12, 2020
Leo Cullen’s men regained their composure, however, and this try from Robbie Henshaw, which helped the Dubliners go 20-5, was the clincher.
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) September 12, 2020
Following the final whistle, the discussion centred on the achievements of Leinster and Cullen, who has enjoyed unprecedented success as both a player and a coach.
Leo Cullen is 42.
He captained Leinster to three Heineken Cup titles in 2009, 2011 & 2012. He won 3 league titles & a challenge cup.
As a coach he’s led Leinster to three consecutive Pro14 titles in 2018, 2019 & 2020
A Heineken Champions Cup in 2018
And nowhere near finished.
— Sinéad Kissane (@sineadkissane) September 12, 2020
Away from the PRO14 and we delve into the Premiership action that took place in midweek. There was another thrilling performance from Bristol with Piers O’Conor’s try particularly special. Of course, the Bears’ brilliant social media team got to work as a result.
📶 "Siri, show me something outrageous."
— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) September 9, 2020
Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam wasn’t happy ahead of the Saints match, though, following the incident involving Siale Piutau the previous Friday. The centre was handed a three-match ban for punching Andrew Kitchener but Lam was angry that they received the same punishment.
Pat Lam wanted the floor to address Siale Piutau's three-match ban.
"You've got to have self-defense. You should be able to defend yourself if someone attacks you lie that."
"What do I say to his wife & kids if he gets a whack in the head?"
"Things have got to change…" pic.twitter.com/8q9xCbhLy2
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) September 8, 2020
Worcester boss Alan Solomons also had his say and completely disagreed with Lam’s comments, stating that it was Piutau who was the instigator.
"Siale Piutau was the instigator of the incident. He's a strong, experienced player, he seizes the initiative and grabs Andrew Kitchener."
"The punishment for both players is appropriate. You can't seek to undermine it."
Alan Solomons addresses Pat Lam's comments on BT Sport. pic.twitter.com/rhO0U5d9lw
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) September 9, 2020
The other controversy involved England captain Owen Farrell, who was sent off and banned for a shocking tackle against Wasps. It, of course, led to plenty of this on social media.
Nice of Umbro to make a special England kit just for Owen Farrell pic.twitter.com/bUyDsaZ3YI
— Graham Love (@glove931) September 7, 2020
There were plenty of serious comments, however, and many couldn’t quite understand why charity work was used as a defence for his high shot on Charlie Atkinson.
It’s extremely silly that Owen Farrell’s charity work – hugely laudable though it is – is judged to have any bearing on his punishment for reckless and dangerous on-field behaviour.
Rugby is such an odd sport. https://t.co/abXDtWSkJ9
— Josh Gardner (@joshgardner) September 8, 2020
Farrell also had his defenders, including former Wales international Jonathan Davies.
Just seen the @owen_faz tackle, yes bad one,he didn’t miss👀 but it happens so don’t hang him out to dry. He’ll take the punishment and learn from it. That edge he has in him is what makes him special. He knows he has to control it. #tinhaton
— Jonathan Davies OBE (@JiffyRugby) September 7, 2020
As mentioned earlier, Premiership teams are having to play midweek matches and Harlequins’ Joe Marler has been very outspoken over the gruelling schedule.
9 games in 7 weeks……… what a bloody fantastic idea that was 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
— Joe Marler (@JoeMarler) September 6, 2020
Elsewhere, the Top 14 has started and there was a nice story involving Kurtley Beale (this was before he got sent off on his debut) as the ex-Wallaby playmaker voluntarily took a pay cut, in line with his team-mates.
Interesting story on Kurtley Beale in @midi_olympique today.
They say he went to Racing 92 management after joining and asked for his salary to be decreased in line with the cuts his new team-mates had already taken due to financial pressures caused by Covid-19. pic.twitter.com/crDhq32ry9
— Murray Kinsella (@Murray_Kinsella) September 7, 2020
Continuing the Racing 92 theme and Scottish fly-half Finn Russell was in sparkling form for the Parisians on Friday, producing two stunning assists.
🧙♂️ Fair to say that Finn Russell wasn't in bad form yesterday. 🔥pic.twitter.com/otYNMRmyqQ
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) September 12, 2020
With the same names cropping up on the highlights, it was unsurprising that South Africa’s Cheslin Kolbe joined the party when playing for Toulouse on Saturday.
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) September 12, 2020
Les Rouge et Noir also produced this stunning team score against La Rochelle as they claimed a 39-23 victory over La Rochelle.
Toulouse are at it again……. pic.twitter.com/FAKNUtmUDf
— Tom May (@TomMay1) September 12, 2020
Finally, referee Wayne Barnes has taken the plunge and re-joined Twitter…
Back on Twitter after 15 years. No fighting, cheating or biting, please. Time on.
— Wayne Barnes (@WayneBarnesRef) September 8, 2020
…And, to a sense of trepidation, Barnes came back to see that he had racked up the followers.
Logged back on to discover 22k people are now poised to disagree with my decisions. Can’t wait.
— Wayne Barnes (@WayneBarnesRef) September 12, 2020