Murray Kinsella reports from Celtic Park
TIME ALWAYS SEEMS to slow down when collisions like Rob Kearney’s with Stuart Hogg in the 66th minute of the Guinness Pro14 final in Glasgow occur.
The Leinster fullback did get off the ground as he chased his own garryowen but he collided with Hogg’s legs after the Glasgow 15 had outleaped him to claim the ball.
Hogg rotated in the air and came down on his side, although the replays arguably show the Scotland star’s head glancing off the turf.
Rob Kearney challenges Stuart Hogg at Celtic Park. Source: James Crombie/INPHO
Glasgow fans, not for the first time in the game, aggressively booed and called for a red card but, after a TMO review, Nigel Owen opted for yellow and Kearney had a chance to return in the closing minutes.
Would a sending off really have made a major difference to the outcome of the final? It’s impossible to know for certain but the momentum of a red-card decision might have shifted a tight battle into Glasgow’s favour, while they obviously would have only had 14 players to play against in the closing four minutes after Grant Stewart’s try had brought them back within three points. Perhaps most importantly, Hogg was forced off.
“Those decisions seem different every time you see a game,” said Glasgow boss Dave Rennie after his side’s 18-15 defeat. “The telling thing for us is that we lost Hoggy at the same time.
“The officials made their decision and we have to live with it.”
Rennie reported that Hogg had suffered “a loss of vision” as a result of Kearney’s challenge and that Hogg “felt like he was going to spew and something else.”
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He didn’t return to the pitch after being replaced by Huw Jones. Though clearly frustrated, Rennie refused to be directly critical of Owens.
“I’m not going to comment,” said Rennie. “One week the ref says red, the other it’s a yellow, and the next it’s play on.”