Difficult night for referee Frank Murphy
Frank Murphy’s appointment as referee for Leinster’s visit to Munster was a topic for conversation long before the first whistle. A native of Cork and onetime Munster player, Murphy’s task was made all the harder in a first-half pockmarked by ill-feeling and contentious issues. Here is how it went down.
reacts to a thumping but legitimate tackle from Fineen Wycherley by tearing the blue scrum cap off his head and flinging it in the Bantry man’s face.
A discussion with the TMO results in a penalty against Sexton who is lucky to evade a yellow. Less than three minutes have been played.
one of the chief offenders on the Leinster side in that half, catches Chris Cloete high and late on the touchline before the South African claims possession. Munster are awarded a penalty from which Cloete eventually scores the game’s first try.
The game by now is in danger of degenerating into anarchy, so it is no surprise when Murphy sends Leinster loosehead
to the bin for 10 minutes after catching Conor Murray around the neck with a high tackle.
mirrors Healy’s indiscretion by catching Jordan Larmour with a tackle around the neck but the official’s decision is that it merits only a penalty against the Munster and Ireland scrum-half. Not exactly consistent.
barrels into a ruck in an attempt to clear out Chris Cloete, who is grappling with James Tracy.
He catches the Munster man around the neck/head area with a combination of his chest and upper arm. There is no attempt to make a wrap. It does not look malicious, but it is reckless. Cloete leaves the field on a motorised stretcher and in a neck brace.
Furlong escapes with a yellow card which just isn’t good enough.
sets off in chase of a Garryowen, but decides against contesting the dropping ball with the airborne Andrew Conway who clatters into the stationary Leinster wing and falls awkwardly and dangerously on to his neck.
There is clearly no intent on Lowe’s part but his actions put Conway in danger and the red card shown is the right, and only, option.