Conor O'Shea 'disappointed with reaction' of one Leinster player in melee

Dominic Ryan is the meat in the sandwich as Harlequins pair Charlie Mathews and George Robson grab hold of the Leinster flanker during their European Rugby Champions Cup clash at the Aviva Stadium. Photo: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Conor O'Shea refused to name names, but was not happy with the actions of one of the Leinster players involved in the fracas that erupted in the closing stages of Saturday night's clash.

Asked directly if Dominic Ryan was the player he was referring to when he said 'It was much ado about nothing. I was very disappointed with the reaction of one of their players but it's done", the Harlequins director of rugby demurred, but he was relieved that nothing came from the resultant sin-binning of Charlie Matthews and a Leinster penalty.

"All I was thinking there when they kicked into the corner was: 'I'd feel pretty aggrieved if they mauled us over.'"

Leinster's failure to exploit the opportunity leaves the English Premiership side in control of Pool 2.

"That's massive," O'Shea  conceded. "I was saying that to them but they're inside and they're gutted. We came here to win. We didn't come here to be plucky second and we could have (won) and it would have been a historic win for the club.

"But we're in control of the pool and we've Wasps at home and Castres away so that's a massive plus - but we wanted to win."

Referee Romain Poite and television match official Eric Gonthier were not flavour of the month at the Aviva Stadium as paying fans sat for more than 12 second-half minutes in sub-zero temperatures watching the duo look at the big screen.

Despite the time spent, two of the three decisions taken were highly questionable, with Devin Toner's early hit on Jack Clifford was the only clear and obvious offence.

Quins had reason to be aggrieved when the duo decided to rule out their brilliant 43rd-minute try for a Joe Marler knock-on when it looked clear that Rob Kearney had ripped the ball from the prop's grasp when off his feet.

As for the late scrap, Poite could easily have sent Ian Madigan, Danny Care or George Robson to join Matthews in the bin, but having spent an age reviewing the footage he showed the yellow card to the second-row for making contact with Ryan's face, but not his eye. All four face an anxious wait for the citing commissioner's report.

It all served to take the sting out of what might have been a grandstand finale and left nobody satisfied.

The work of the video referee is becoming an increasing nuisance for fans and, while Leinster coach Matt O'Connor pointed out the importance of getting decisions right, he admitted the process could be improved.

"It gives us an opportunity to have a look at what's going on. It's frustrating for the fans. But, they'll look at it. It's experimental at the moment," he said.

"There's things to iron out. But, if you've got the technology, you've got to look at it don't you?

"There's scope because you want the decisions right, especially the decisions that potentially cost games. From a rugby perspective, you need to use the technology. Can we speed it up? Can we improve the process? Yes, we can."

For the second successive week, Leinster had major problems at scrum time, with Jack McGrath getting on Poite's wrong side during the second half.

That led to the Irish side losing their way badly as Quins stormed back from 11-0 down to lead 13-11 before Eoin Reddan's intervention led to Madigan restoring Leinster's lead.

"He said he was giving four or five penalties against Nos 1 and 3. He felt they had a little bit of dominance there at times," Jamie Heaslip said of the scrum.

"I thought come the second part of the second half he realised we were trying it keep it nice and square and keep the weight down and through. I think he saw that in that last scrum.

"The front-row is a dark, dark place to be in. The lads will look at it. I think they improved a lot from last week. But, we've still got a long way to go.

"We're in a good place. It is still all to play for in our group, which is where we want to be come this stage, and a lot of guys got vital learning experience at this level."

Meanwhile, Rhys Ruddock looks set to miss Leinster's busy Christmas period having been withdrawn late on with an arm injury. The flanker was in a sling at the full time whistle and will be reviwed this week.