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Watch: Darren Cave slams 'shocking advertisement' of Robbie Henshaw tackle on Robert Baloucoune while Ulster coach makes no excuses for defeat to Leinster


Leinster's Robbie Henshaw receives medical attention.

Leinster's Robbie Henshaw receives medical attention.

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup, RDS, Dublin 14/5/2021
Leinster vs Ulster
Robbie Henshaw of Leinster 
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup, RDS, Dublin 14/5/2021 Leinster vs Ulster Robbie Henshaw of Leinster Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Leinster's Robbie Henshaw scores a try despite the efforts of Eric O’Sullivan (INPHO/Bryan Keane)

Leinster's Robbie Henshaw scores a try despite the efforts of Eric O’Sullivan (INPHO/Bryan Keane)

©INPHO/Bryan Keane


Leinster's Robbie Henshaw receives medical attention.

Darren Cave has slammed referee Mike Adamson's contentious decision to reject Ulster's captain's challenge during their 21-17 Rainbow Cup defeat to Leinster on Friday evening.

With Ulster enjoying a purple patch in the first-half, Iain Henderson used his captain's challenge to urge the officiating team to take another look at a Robbie Henshaw's tackle on Robert Baloucoune.

After checking the replays, Adamson judged no foul play had occurred, much to the chagrin of Henderson. On-field microphones picked up the Ulster skipper telling Adamson there was "no way" a transgression hadn't occurred, describing the high-speed collision as "dangerous" and concluding that "we can’t have tackles like that."

Henshaw himself would have to leave the field for a HIA but upon his return would score the decisive try in the game and earn man of the match honours.

Speaking in the Premier Sports studio, former Ulster and Ireland star Cave was less than impressed with the tackle and the referee's decision.

“I love Robbie Henshaw’s intent," he began. "I love how he gets off the line and how aggressive he enters the contact zone.

“But I hate absolutely everything about the tackle. I get ‘was it head-on-head or shoulder on head’. I was involved in a lot of head-on-head collisions when I played. I absolutely wince when I look at that. I agreed with Iain Henderson. I just can’t see how that’s not reckless or dangerous.

“I think for youngsters watching at home, it’s a shocking advertisement for the game. If I was one of Rob Baloucoune’s parents right now watching that, I would be shaken.

“I don’t know what the law book says about that but I just hate that. We’re lucky that wasn’t head-on-head and one of them got a serious injury. We need players to tackle lower than that. I’m amazed we’re saying that’s acceptable."

Fellow former Ireland international Alan Quinlan was in agreement, calling for 'some common sense' in the officials' decision-making process.

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However, Ulster head coach Dan McFarland did not feel the call was a decisive factor in their loss to Leinster at the RDS.

It was the second time in three games since this law trial was introduced in this competition that Ulster have had their captain's challenge rejected when they sensed the opposition had committed foul play in the tackle.

In contrast to when these side's last met, however, McFarland took no public exception with the refereeing.

"I couldn't hear what Mike Adamson said," he said of the referee's explanation to Henderson that Henshaw had not made contact with the head of the Ulster winger.

"The view that we have, it looked to me that there'd been a collision with the body and up to the head which should have been a yellow card however I'm not privy to all the angles. I wasn't watching that closely.

"Mike made the decision and it is what it is.

"I don't think it was decisive anyway but it meant that we lost our captain's challenge which was disappointing."

Instead, McFarland was disappointed his side's much-improved performance hadn't come complete with a more clinical edge.

"I'd be really happy with our defence," he said. "The lads really got stuck in this week. They drove it themselves and I thought the effort was outstanding.

"In terms of creating things I thought we did a better job, in terms of finishing things we definitely didn't do a better job. I thought the scrum went well, we got a try off big pressure on their ball.

"There were a lot of really good attacks, certainly through the middle of the park where we created a lot of opportunities, but unfortunately we couldn't finish those off.

"There were far too many turnovers that were really of our own doing."

Ulster will have a down week to come to allow for the conclusion of this season's European campaigns before finishing up against Scarlets and Edinburgh on consecutive Saturdays.

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