Sunday 17 December 2017

Leinster boss Leo Cullen criticises Nigel Owens for failing to protect Johnny Sexton

Leo Cullen and Nigel Owens
Leo Cullen and Nigel Owens Newsdesk Newsdesk

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has criticised Nigel Owens and other referees for failing to protect flyhalf Jonathan Sexton from late hits.

Targeting the number 10 is not unusual in rugby but the Leinster outhalf has come in for some very rough treatment in recent years and yesterday's 32-17 win over Wasps was no exception.

Cullen felt that some of the incidents warranted greater action from the match officials.

"You see the ways teams are targeting Johnny. A couple of times, you see he's being hit late," he said.

"It's definitely something referees need to keep in mind, because it's easy for a defender to commit to a tackle, knowing that he's committed, but he knows that he's not going to tackle the man before he gets the pass away.

"It's one of those grey areas, but Johnny is definitely the recipient on that."

Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Sexton was asked if they had targeted Danny Cipriani and the 10-12 channel.

"We wanted to show that we have a physical backline. I thought Danny stood up well, a few times he turned the ball over

"Everyone targets the 10, he's the guy who makes all the decisions and you've got to put him off his game, that's what they tried to do to us.

"We tried to do that to Gopperth and himself because they are the key players in their team."

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