"It's an awful blight on the game" - Donncha O'Callaghan on need to curb rugby's over-physicality

Munster legend and Eddie O'Sullivan joined us on Monday Night Rugby

BY Raf Diallo 20:56 Monday 18 December 2017, 20:56 18 Dec 2017

Leinster's Johnny Sexton leaves the field for a head injury assessment ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

This weekend proved to be a successful one for the Irish provinces in Europe as Leinster, Munster and Ulster all pulled off victories in the European Champions Cup.

Munster followed up a home win over Leicester Tigers, with a triumph away, while Leinster fought back to defeat Exeter Chiefs and Ulster defeated Harlequins 52-24. 

Munster and Leinster are both top of their Champions Cup pools, and Ulster have now clawed them within two points of Pool 1 leaders La Rochelle with two match days to go.

Munster and Ireland legend and current Worcester Warriors second row Donncha O'Callaghan and former Ireland head coach Eddie O'Sullivan joined us to discuss the finer detail. 

The issue of tackling was tackled after a few incidents, including in the Leinster match, with some injuries and knocks suffered by Sean Cronin and Jonathan Sexton. 

"We're definitely having an awful lot of head shots at the moment," said Donncha after explaining the tactical contributing factors.

"Between rule changes or something, something needs to happen because we're just having too many HIA. It's an awful blight on the game." 

Leinster's Jonathan Sexton receives treatment ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

He feels a more attacking friendly game with offloads would be better to watch and the "rugby I'd love my kids to play" rather than the collision centred game of today.

While Irish sides are performing well, English clubs are struggling for the most part this season and Donncha, whose been playing in the Aviva Premiership for the last two years, explained why that is.

"For me, it's 100% nearly fatigue levels. I think the Premiership is a ruthless league," he said. 

Meanwhile, Ulster's John Cooney has been catching the eye, and Eddie gave his thoughts on the former Leinster and Connacht scrum half who has filled the considerable shoes of Ruan Pienaar.

"He's definitely benefited from going to Ulster and they have definitely benefited from having him there. He's been outstanding all season. I think if you look at his performance since the start of the year, it's been top end," said Eddie.


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