Close sidebar

Rory Best criticises Ulster CEO’s public reaction to relocated La Rochelle match

Rory Best

Rory Best has criticised Ulster CEO Jonny Petrie for publicly expressing his frustration with the decision to move the La Rochelle game to Dublin.

Ulster were due to play La Rochelle at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast last Saturday, although the decision was made to move the game to the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on the Friday.

While the pitch was deemed to be unplayable by the EPCR, Ulster Rugby CEO Jonny Petrie tweeted on the Saturday morning that he believed the game could have taken place at the Kinsgpan Stadium.

The game was played behind closed doors due to the late change of venue, which is reported to have cost Ulster roughly £700,000 as the province had to refund all match tickets.

Although it’s very understandable why Petrie would be annoyed, Best argued on the BBC’s Ulster Rugby Show that the province’s CEO should not have taken to Twitter to express his frustration on the day of the game.

Rory Best on Jonny Petrie’s reaction.

“That fight was done. The two teams were at the Aviva, or on Saturday morning at 9.30, Ulster were leaving to go to the Aviva. I don’t think that the CEO should have been tweeting about it during that day,” Best said.

“If you are a player and you are reading that, and you are already in a place where you are feeling a bit sorry for yourself, that to me adds fuel to that.

“Whereas it should have been [on] Saturday going ‘do you know what, we will beat them wherever we play them, it doesn’t matter’.

“And then come eight o’clock on Saturday night, it is going ‘this was a disgrace’. Sunday, Monday and you fight the whole way through.”

EPCR are conducting an investigation.

Heineken Champions Cup tournament organisers EPCR are conducting an investigation into the relocation of Ulster’s game against La Rochelle, in which the province have been requested to co-operate fully.

While Best was critical of Petrie’s public reaction, he did label the EPCR’s handling of the situation as a “disgrace”.

Read More About: ,