James Crombie/INPHO
stonewall red

'No issues at all': Van der Flier unscathed after horror stamp and 20 tackles

The Leinster flanker’s head was trampled on by Connacht prop Dominic Robertson-McCoy.

JOSH VAN DER Flier isn’t normally the type of lad to hold onto much ill will, but that personality trait was tested to the limit with little over 10 minutes to go in this evening’ s 3-20 win away in Connacht.

As Van der Flier lay to the side of a 69th-minute ruck, replacement prop Dominic Robertson-McCoy – on the field for a matter of seconds as a replacement – planted his right foot onto the right side of Van der Flier’s head.

Referee John Lacey, didn’t require much time to deliberate, there were no arguments that the offence was worthy of a straight red card.

Fortunately for Van der Flier, his trademark red scrum-cap shield him from the brunt of the tighthead’s studs.

“You don’t get any scratches or that with the scrum-cap on, feeling good.

“Fine, no issues at all.”

Robertson-McCoy’s head coach Andy Friend, defended his prop’s character, but not the baffling action.

“Dom is bitterly disappointed with himself. It’s not his character, he’s a good fella. But he knows he did the wrong thing there.

“That’s up to the judiciary,” Friend added when asked about the possibility of a ban, “but rugby’s a clean game and you’ve got to be careful around heads and necks.”

Van der Flier was sitting in the media room after earning the man of the match accolade, a timely reward given today marked the return of Sean O’Brien. The Wicklow man ploughed through 20 tackles and regularly set a vicious line-speed in a magnificent defensive effort from the European champions.

“There was a huge focus on defence,” said the 25-year-old.

“We know how dangerous Connacht are. We were a bit off in defence last year and that resulted in a (47-10) loss. So we knew we had to be at our best or close to our best and I thought we did pretty well this evening.

Tom Farrell and Josh van der Flier Receiving end. Van der Flier takes the hit from Tom Farrell. James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

“They play pretty fast rugby, so you can’t afford to give them soft tackles and quick ball.

“I thought Seanie (O’Brien) back from injury was outstanding in that department, slowing down the ball a huge amount, putting in some massive hits. I think he was brilliant. It’s great to see him coming straight in from not playing for five months. He led it for us in the second half.”

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