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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 7 December, 2019

Wasps boss refuses to 'crucify' Willie le Roux for botched swan dive finish against Leinster

Dai Young felt the occasion got the better of the Premiership leaders.

A STUPID QUESTION deserves a stupid answer sometimes.

“Really pleased,” was Dai Young’s wry response when asked about his mood after a TMO review spotted a knock-on as Willie le Roux swan-dived over for what should have been a 24th minute try against Leinster in the Champions Cup quarter-final loss at the Aviva.

Willie Le Roux scores a try but has it disallowed by Nigel Owens Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Willie Le Roux scores a try but has it disallowed by Nigel Owens Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Rather than take the plaudits for a 40 metre finish that took Wasps within a point of Leinster after being out-played in the opening quarter, Le Roux could take only a deserved raft of derision.

However, Young was keen to stress that the game was decided on many other factors beyond the 41-cap Springbok’s ill-fated showboating.

“He apologised at half-time,” Young would soon add.

It’s disappointing. I don’t think any coach is going to sit up here and crucify his own players. He’s got his head in his hands there, he’s apologised to coaches and players.

“There’s not much more you can say. It would have helped us, it didn’t make things easy, but as I keep on saying, we had 55 minutes to turn it around — it’s too easy to point at one incident that cost us the game.”

Young credited his team with the manner in which they battled back to within eight points after being only able to instruct his players to get close to Leinster when the interval score-line stood at a daunting 22 – 3. The performance to get into that rut was what irked Young most, and he bemoaned the dearth of rhythm and momentum as the error-strewn visitors struggled to string phases together.

“It looked like the occasion got to us a little bit in the first 25 minutes.  I think it took us something like 28 minutes to get to three phases. We did have opportunities with the ball, but looked for a miracle ball or tried to force things and kept on turning the ball over back to Leinster.

“That’s the frustrating part, we didn’t give ourselves a chance. They created a really good try to start off with, but the other two (first-half) tries were hugely disappointing: From a clearing kick, you practice that every week! You don’t expect to be cut on a kick return pretty much on first phase.

“Then from our own line-out, the ball spilled out and they scored. We handed them  14 points which was really disappointing. It gave us a massive mountain to climb at half-time.

“Willie, if he’d put that ball down after 24 minutes – we’d have been pretty pleased with that…”

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Sean Farrell

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