• Home
  • /
  • Rugby
  • /
  • Intriguing Footage Shows How Leinster Ignored Ross Byrne Pleas To Go For Drop Goal

Intriguing Footage Shows How Leinster Ignored Ross Byrne Pleas To Go For Drop Goal

Intriguing Footage Shows How Leinster Ignored Ross Byrne Pleas To Go For Drop Goal
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
Share this article

Five days on, the inquest into Leinster and their Champions Cup final loss to La Rochelle is still very much underway.

It's clear that Leo Cullen's side left this one behind them. While they were facing top class opposition, they really should have hammered home their advantage after taking a 17-point lead inside the opening 12 minutes. The fact that they failed to do so while playing in Dublin made things even worse.

Of course, they also had an opportunity to grab a dramatic victory in the final moments of the match.

With the clock ticking towards the red, Leinster found themselves deep into La Rochelle territory while trailing by just a point. It was assumed that they would go for a drop goal at this stage, although they continued to attempt to score the try. That would prove a costly error when they coughed up possession due to Michael Ala'alatoa's dangerous clear out and subsequent red card.

Their decision not to go for the three points has been heavily discussed during the intervening days.

Bernard Jackman wondered if the way Leinster had won games so easily in recent seasons left them ill-prepared for this situation, a theory that makes plenty of sense.

However, some footage of the game would suggest that at least one of their players was preparing to go for the match winning drop goal.


Squidge Rugby shows Byrne was prepared for key Leinster moment


Ross Byrne has come in for criticism in light of this passage of play, with some suggesting he failed to shoulder the type of responsibility that you would expect from your out-half in this scenario.

It seems such claims may be unfair.

The always brilliant Squidge Rugby broke down the game between Leinster and La Rochelle on his YouTube channel and made some interesting observations on that closing passage of play.


In a number of clips, he shows Ross Byrne positioning himself and some of his teammates to take on the drop goal, only to be ignored by Jamison Gibson-Park as he continued to play at pace and go in search of the try.

You can watch the analysis from around 18:30 in the video below.

Here's what Squidge Rugby had to say on the matter:

Leinster's approach remains the same, but Byrne's approach changes. Gibson-Park does an initial phase or two keeping the speed up, but Byrne steps in order to carry in field and drop behind the pod.

He has been flat and playing off 'ten' until now, but now he's decided 'I'm going to sit in behind'. The moment the ball goes to Ala'alatoa, he's calling for another pod to be set further infield, wanting to work it between the posts knowing what has to be done...

It's this point (the break in play) that is really telling. Byrne is initially furious, but then calls every single player in so he can lay down the law and explain to them exactly what he wants them to do and get them on the same page...

There is a huge contrast into how Byrne and Gibson-Park are approaching these final few phases. The 'ten' is looking to set pods and slow it down, versus the 'nine' who is playing at a mad pace and looking for space. One of them is playing their usual game plan, the other is playing a far more conservative game and looking to work it towards the posts.

Ross Byrne is the only one who can answer this for certain, but for me it looked like Byrne was trying to manufacture a drop goal.

Fantastic analysis from Squidge Rugby here, who also pointed out that Leinster had not been in this position since Ross Byrne kicked a winning drop goal against Ospreys back in 2017.

Looking at the footage he has put together, it does seem that out-half was attempting to manufacture an opportunity for a drop goal. Unfortunately for Byrne, it seems that his teammates were on the same page.

Were they do it all over again, you would imagine that Leinster would go down a very different route.


SEE ALSO: Bernard Jackman Thinks Leinster's Success Contributed To Bad La Rochelle Decision

beranrd jackman leinster la rochelle
Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are now subscribed!

Share this article

Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com