ASTERISKS AND THE OMICRON
So here I am, staring at my laptop at the time I had set aside to write my preview for Montpellier v Leinster. For the record, I was going to predict a Leinster win, but only a hard earned one after the Top 14 team had spent 80 minutes giving it to Paul Willemse to run at our young centre pairing..
But instead the match has a result already, albeit one with an asterisk that has to do a hell of a lot of work, so I guess I may as well do a "match writeup" now instead and give myself the Sunday night off from harping on rugby.
Obviously I'm not a happy camper. And when I see tweets which imply that Leinster "outrage" means we wanted the match to go ahead whether there were COVID cases or not, I get even angrier. But I reckon I've done pretty well to avoid getting sucked into an online rabbit hole on this; nothing will change the official result so I decided to keep all my comebacks, try to put them in this article and consider that to be closure on the matter,
And it's not like this is even the most significant news of the week - the big stories have been coming thick and fast. Obviously the biggest one was the amazing stance by the 62 current and former Irish internationals who went to the government over the lack of transparency by the IRFU when it comes to internal reviews, pressure which seems to have worked. I know we've still to wait for proof of the pudding, and now they have taken a step in the right direction hopefully they'll keep going. We'll see what the review says when it's released in the first quarter of 2022 (subject to completion).
There has been loads of other things going on this week, but something else that stood out was the citing and eventual banning of Bath winger Will Muir for a challenge on Josh van der Flier at the Aviva Stadium last Saturday. I spotted it on my rewatch but chose not to mention it in the writeup as nobody else seemed to be talking about it and Josh played on but I guess the Leinster coaching staff thought it was serious enough for a citing and the commission agreed. I really thought it was a curious way to get leverage for jumping and it even looked like he went at the player twice. Anyway, that has been resolved.
So...to this match that never was...much has been said about it but for me only three statements actually matter. First there's the original COVID rules as laid out by the EPCR ahead of the competition...