Wednesday 18 September 2019

'All that was missing was a Brown Thomas bag' - Ronan O'Gara jokes that Munster pitch invader was a 'plant'

A Munster supporter runs on to the pitch to confront Billy Vunipola of Saracens following the Heineken Champions Cup Semi-Final match between Saracens and Munster at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, England. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
A Munster supporter runs on to the pitch to confront Billy Vunipola of Saracens following the Heineken Champions Cup Semi-Final match between Saracens and Munster at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, England. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Munster and Ireland legend Ronan O'Gara is concerned over the vast swathe of empty seats in the Ricoh Arena for Munster's Champions Cup semi-final defeat to Saracens on Saturday.

One Munster fan created headlines after he confronted Billy Vunipola, who was booed throughout the game, while the number 8 took part in a lap of honour.

Vunipola received formal warnings from his club and Rugby Football Union in the past week after he posted on social media that "man was made for woman to procreate that was the goal no?"

He also liked a social media post from controversial Australian player Israel Folau that stated "hell awaits" for homosexuals.

Speaking on Off The Ball AM, O'Gara joked that he doubted whether the pitch invader was from Munster given his footwear.

"I don't know was he a Munster fan. He was in tailored shorts and boating shoes," he said.

"There'll have to be a steward's enquiry on that. I reckon he was a plant.

"All he was missing was the Brown Thomas bag.

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"Wasn't he lucky Vunipola didn't go at him?"

On a more serious note, O'Gara was very worried about the fact that a game of such importance was played in front of 16,000 spectators, mainly from Munster.

"How disappointing was the crowd? This is the semi-final of the European Cup and it looked like Super Rugby where you have stadiums half-empty," he added.

"These are the biggest days in Europe.

"There are warning signs there. This is dangerous territory for rugby. This is a special competition but it was so disheartening to see.

"Rugby is on very dangerous ground if the European Cup is being diminished or lost because the Irish clubs are going to feel that more than anyone."

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