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03rd Apr 2023

Tadhg Furlong had the last laugh after ‘big head’ comment in Ulster game

Patrick McCarry

Rapid-fire response from Rory Sutherland.

Following Leinster’s latest big match triumph over Ulster, Tadhg Furlong caught up with Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen before the tighthead headed up the Aviva Stadium tunnel.

Furlong was in fine spirits and took a couple of comments from the Wellington native in good humour. It helps that his team had advanced to the Champions Cup quarter finals. There were back slaps and laughs before both men parted ways. Opposition on the night but card-carrying members of the tighthead union.

Toomaga-Allen was over the other side of the Ulster front row when teammate Rory Sutherland came out with a cracker after a bit of a talking to from referee Luke Pearce.

As Ulster subbed off Nathan Doak for John Cooney, 50 minutes in and with the game finely poised, Pearce gave a gentle lecture to both front rows about tidying up the scrum engagement.

Pure dead-pan, Sutherland struck. The Scotland and Lions star had a one-liner ready to go.

PEARCE: Head in, Rory. On the last scrum. Just let his [Tadhg’s] head in.

SUTHERLAND: His head? It’s a BIG head!

“It’s a breeze block,” chimed Mike McCarthy, up on commentary duty for BT Sport. “He might have hurt Tadhg’s feelings.”

Tadhg FurlongTadhg Furlong and the Leinster players celebrate winning a penalty against Ulster, at Aviva Stadium. (Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile)

Tadhg Furlong and Leinster scrum send a message

There was parity in the scrum that resulted in Duane Vermeulen being able to peel off the back and carry into contact. John Cooney organised the snake-ruck but his box-kick was still blocked by Ryan Baird and went out for an Ulster lineout, deep in their half.

10 minutes later, though, Tadhg Furlong and the Leinster pack had the last laugh with a scrum that sent a resounding statement.

Leinster had stretched their lead after a Jamison Gibson-Park try, only for Rob Herring to punch back with a try off a rolling maul. Ulster had bloodied Leinster’s nose but the hosts were winding back for the knock-out blow.

A scrum on the halfway line saw both packs square off. Cooney had the put-in for Ulster but it was not even a contest. Leinster pulverised them and celebrated as if they had clinched the match, there and then.

Three minutes later on the match clock, they had. Andrew Porter piled over for the try that, when converted, put Leinster 15 clear with 16 minutes to play.

Ulster had swung hard but had nothing left in the tank and the game petered out. Just the URC for Ulster to aim for now while top dogs Leinster kept up yet another dual trophy pursuit.

Leinster, Tadhg Furlong and his ‘big head’ bopped on, ready for another dance in Dublin.


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