Thursday 22 March 2018

Controversial referee Poite gets nod for Heineken Cup showdown

Hugh Farrelly

Controversial referee Romain Poite will take charge of Leinster's bid for a second Heineken Cup title when they face Northampton on Saturday week.

The Frenchman refereed Ireland's narrow win over Italy in Rome earlier this year when he penalised the Irish repeatedly at the breakdown and in the scrum, where Leinster props Cian Healy and Mike Ross struggled with his interpretations throughout.

Ireland's penalty count that day was 14, while Munster have also fallen foul of Poite's whistle, most recently when losing their Challenge Cup semi-final to Harlequins.

Irishman George Clancy will take charge of the Challenge Cup final when Harlequins face Stade Francais, also in Cardiff, the night before Leinster's game.


Both Poite and Clancy are in the elite 10 referees listed to officiate at the World Cup later this year.

Meanwhile, Ruan Pienaar's agent has denied reports the newly crowned Magners League Players' Player of the Season is heading back to South Africa. There is strong speculation Springboks coach Peter de Villiers has been in negotiations with the 27-year-old to return to Super rugby this summer, with a view to playing him at out-half at the World Cup.

However, the player's agent Gerrie Swart said he knew nothing about such a move and said Pienaar is contracted with Ulster until the end of June 2012.

Ulster, who face Leinster in the Magners League semi-final on Friday, confirmed Stephen Ferris would not play again this season due to his knee injury, while Dan Tuohy is due to have a MRI scan on his hamstring today. Leinster reported no injury concerns.

Elsewhere, Connacht could lose Bernie Upton to Edinburgh, where their former coach Michael Bradley is taking over next season.

Irish Independent

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