Rugby

Rory Arnold Admits He Was Lucky To Avoid Red Card For Shocking Zebo Tackle

Rory Arnold Admits He Was Lucky To Avoid Red Card For Shocking Zebo Tackle

If the chips had fallen slightly differently, the country would be preparing for mammoth showdown between Leinster and Munster in a Champions Cup semi-final this weekend. It would have been quite the occasion, although instead it will be Toulouse that line up against Leo Cullen's side at the Aviva Stadium.

Munster missed out on the fixture by the tightest of margins, losing to the French side via place kicking competition after finishing level after extra-time. Having led the game going into the closing stages, they will certainly be disappointed not to see out the result.

The injury suffered by Peter O'Mahony late on certainly had a big impact, as did a refereeing decision not long after the interval.

Toulouse were very lucky not to have had a man sent off in the first half, with the referee deciding that Rory Arnold only deserved a yellow card for this incredibly dangerous late hit on Simon Zebo.

Many felt that Arnold got away with one at the time and the game certainly would have been swung in Munster's favour had they been facing 14 men for the remainder of the contest.

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As it turns out, the player himself felt he was a tad fortunate. Speaking ahead of the Leinster game, the Aussie admitted that he was lucky not to receive his marching orders.

I was [relieved] to be honest.

I definitely got that one wrong. If I was shown red then, it would definitely drastically changed the outcome of that game.

I was very lucky there and I need to be better around that collision zone.

Of course, a red card in the Munster game would have seen him suspended for the clash against Leinster this weekend had Toulouse advanced.

He will now visit the Aviva once again on Saturday afternoon, where he is expecting an even tougher contest on this occasion.

I guess a little bit in that we travelled away and got the results in those two games, but in saying that I think they're the benchmark, they're a step up in terms of Irish rugby.

So we're going to have to be very, very good and clinical if we want to get the result on Saturday.

To be the best you've got to beat the best, and we've definitely had some tough teams on the way to this semi-final. It's no different this weekend, they're a world class team.

There is nothing between the teams, when you look at how much experience they have and how successful they have been in their competition and in the Heineken as well, they're a class team and we know it’s going to be a challenge on Saturday.

I think they'll play field position a fair bit and put our back three under pressure in regards to contestable kicks and what not. For us, if we can defend well and exit clinically, I think that will be a massive part in getting a result.

It is sure to be a cracker of a game.

SEE ALSO: Chris Ashton Apologises To James Lowe After Leinster Victory

Gary Connaughton

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