Tales’ frustration not lost in translation

Matt O’Connor pays tribute to those who made impact off the bench in a physical game

Leinster’s Dave Kearney and Remi Lamerat of Castres. The French player was yellow-carded for this tackle. Photograph: Inpho

Leinster’s Dave Kearney and Remi Lamerat of Castres. The French player was yellow-carded for this tackle. Photograph: Inpho


Castres Olympique captain and outhalf Remi Tales politely shrugged through an interpreter. Inclining his head to one side, he puffed out his cheeks, exhaled and waited for his words to be translated.

He had just been asked about the two sin-binnings that his team had suffered at the RDS, centre Remi Lamaret for a no-arms, shoulder charge on Leinster right wing Dave Kearney (56 minutes) that shunted the latter into touch and the second, when replacement scrumhalf Julien Tomas (70 minutes), saw a yellow brandished by referee Greg Garner for a third crooked feed to a scrum in succession.

Tomas’ gestures and words as he made his way from the pitch suggested most things had been lost in translation. Tales confirmed as much when he ventured: “The first one (yellow card) was logical but the second one, we absolutely didn’t understand it. And it may be why we didn’t get the bonus point.”

He was asked about Rory Kockott’s missed penalty that came slightly before the first sin bin, accepting that it was a turning point.

The Castres captain though was generous in defeat, acknowledging the resilience and talent of the three-time European champions, while accentuating a few positives on a disappointing afternoon for the visitors. “It was good for us to be able to hold against one of the best teams in the competition.

“Even though we lost it’s good for our mindset and our confidence for the rest of the campaign.”

Leinster coach Matt O’Connor was satisfied with the result, to a point, if not with all aspects of the performance. In relation to the yellow peril suffered by the French champions he admitted: “The way the game is sanctioned now, if you get it wrong, you’re liable to be in the bin. That’s the way they’re refereeing it.

“It’s not new this season, that’s the way they’ve approached it in the last couple of seasons. You have to buy into it and make sure that you manage those big moments. Because they have the potential to cost you games.

“We wouldn’t be completely happy with that performance. There’s growth in our game, especially with the ball. ”

O’Connor paid tribute to the impact of the bench, that gave Leinster impetus at a crucial time. “We just thought Cian (Healy) worked hard against a massive pack. He was struggling in the heavy conditions and then I thought Jack (McGrath) was amazing. He was brilliant when he came on and he gave us that bit of a lift which we needed.

“The whole bench were brilliant; everyone who came on, added value. We were going to need that. It was one of those days against a very physical side. There are things for us to tighten up, we can improve. But at the end of the day, we’re happy with where we are in the group.”

The Australian admitted that Leinster coughed up control in the third quarter of the game. “We lost our way a little bit there in how we were exiting, and in what we were in control of. We wrestled it back though.

“It’s going to be very tight, The margins are tiny, especially in this group.”