'He said sorry a few times' - Robertson-McCoy faces lengthy ban after horror stamp on Van der Flier
Connacht prop Dominic Robertson-McCoy will receive a lengthy ban after a horror stamp on a prone Josh van der Flier in the 70th minute of his side's defeat.
He had spent less than a minute on the pitch before stamping all over the most obvious object he could have chosen to decorate with his size 12s, namely Van der Flier's red helmet.
"He said sorry a few times to me," said the mercifully armoured victim.
The prop also apologised profusely to his team-mates, but the beaks may not be so forgiving and the Kiwi is likely to serve a decent stretch of the maximum 12-week ban.
70: Red Card!— eir Sport (@eirSport) September 29, 2018
Dominic Robertson-McCoy sent off for a 'deliberate stamp to the head' of Josh van der Flier. Connacht are down to 14 men.
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"We honestly felt if we did everything right we could win that game," coach Andy Friend told us and for those opening 10 minutes they did do everything right.
Leading 3-0 after an early poach from the lively new flanker Colby Fainga'a, Connacht's physical intent was clearly evident and obviously disruptive. Their visitors coughed up three penalties and two knock-ons and, while not imitating the rabble who pitched up here last April, the strongest side Leinster had sent west in many a year were certainly discommoded.
The longer Connacht persisted, though, the greater Leinster resisted and soon the laws of diminishing returns applied; the home side ended the half on a 9-4 penalty count and 6-3 down after Jonathan Sexton had chose to play up the hill and into the stiff offshore breeze.
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They then fell asleep just 43 seconds after the break and, although camping in Leinster's half for most of the time thereafter, their game plan slowly fell apart.
"We didn't do everything right," lamented Friend of the 70 minutes that followed their promising start. "That was the problem."
Ending the match with 13 men signified their distress. Craig Ronaldson also spent merely a minute on the battlefield before hobbling wounded from its fray and he may now also miss the forgiving trip to Belfast.
Jarrad Butler could return from a shoulder injury, though, and Connacht may need him if their opening league salvo is not to show a dispiriting return of 2-4 before they embark on European fare.
After Ulster created their own piece of unwanted history over the weekend, perhaps there has never been a better opportunity for Connacht to reverse a trend of perennial defeat that extends back to 1960.
"We're not worried about history," declared Friend. "We're focused on getting better. I'm not going to say today was a backward step.
"They're a quality side. We did a lot of good things, but we now know exactly what it is we need to do if we want to get some silverware."