Leo Cullen questions ‘distracting’ captain’s challenge rule


Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has admitted he is still not sure as to how the new captain’s challenge law works in the Guinness Pro14 Rainbow Cup.

The new law was introduced for the one-off Rainbow Cup, which states that the captain of each team may ask the referee to review an incident of foul play or any infringement in the lead up to a try. In the last five minutes, captain’s may ask the referee to review a broader range of incidents.

Cullen was speaking to the Irish Independent after Friday night’s win against Ulster, and admitted his confusion about the law after Leinster captain Luke McGrath was waved away by referee Mike Adamson when he attempted to use his challenge for a potential high tackle.

“Lukey was trying to get a captain’s challenge in for a high tackle I think. Again, the captain’s challenge is proving challenging, I think it’s fair to say. And distracting,” Cullen said.

“So yeah, I still don’t know what the process is. I didn’t talk to the referee anyway so I’ll go and ask, because I’m not even sure myself.

“As we know, I think it’s having a few teething issues. I’ll ask the question as to what is the correct process.

“I know Lukey was trying to ask the referee at the end. A high tackle was what he wanted to get checked, which I thought would have been okay to get checked. Obviously not.”

Ulster’s unsuccessful captain’s challenge.

Ulster captain Iain Henderson did use his captain’s challenge in Friday night’s Rainbow Cup encounter at the RDS Arena, after a Robbie Henshaw tackle on Robert Baloucoune.

While the incident was reviewed by referee Adamson and his TMO, they decided that the tackle was legal, as Henshaw made contact with the young Ulster winger just below the neck.

Henderson was incensed by the decision, but no penalty was given against Leinster and Henshaw, and Ulster lost their captain’s challenge for the remainder of the match as a result.

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