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'I don't think we're whinging, the facts speak for themselves': Ireland still sore from NZ clash

Outgoing team manager Michael Kearney says the citing commissioner reviewed 11 incidents of possible Kiwi foul play from Saturday’s defeat.

VICE CAPTAIN JAMIE Heaslip and team manager Michael Kearney tellingly veered to very different tunes after the squad regathered in the wake of the bruising 21 – 9 loss to New Zealand.

For Heaslip, as is the wont of most top level players, it was time to move on and focus on preparation for Australia:

“Playing against New Zealand, it is intense. That’s international rugby, lads.”

Jamie Heaslip Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Kearney meanwhile, speaking to the media for the last time before his five-year stint in the role comes to an end, was keen to shine a light on the citing commisioner’s post-match work.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” said Kearney after Steven Hansen’s assertion that the citing of Sam Cane would be contested was raised.

What I would say is the citing officer picked out 12 incidents during the game, 11 of them referred to New Zealand. The one that referred to us was a clean-out of Sam Cane at a ruck and we were cleared of any foul play in that incident.”

That level of detail arising out of a citing commisioner’s referrals is unusual. However, the Ireland camp perhaps have a right to feel aggrieved at the low-grade punishment of high tackles just over a week after a fresh directive from World Rugby on the subject.

“There were a number of tackles and bangs around the head,” continued Kearney.

“We received the edict from World Rugby in the last week or 10 days and Joe (Schmidt) would have sat the squad down, showed them the various footage – including examples of  tackles around the head and neck area.

“World Rugby had said: ‘if these incidents occur then you are liable to a red card possibly’. So that obviously didn’t happen at the weekend.”

Jamie Heaslip congratulates Mick Kearney on what was his last media engagement before stepping down from the role Jamie Heaslip pats Kearney on the back as he delivers his last Monday media address as team manager. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The very presence of Cane and Malakai Fekitoa (who was sin-binned during the game) on the list of citings this week means that citing commissioner Bruce Kuklinski felt a red card was worth considering for both men.

Of course, the Kiwi view on all this post-match fall-out is very different and Sky Sports New Zealand are among those who have labelled the Irish reaction as mere ‘whinging’ after a convincing home defeat.

“I don’t think we’re whinging at all, the facts speak for themselves” said Kearney.

“We don’t cite anybody. We don’t  make complaints to the citing officer. because at the end of the day they’ve got the angles. The citing officer tends to go through the game fairly forensically.”

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Sean Farrell

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