Suggestion of head butt in Challenge Cup Final dismissed by Chris Kendall

In an incredibly fiery Challenge Cup Final, there has been plenty of controversy as Leigh Leopards and Hull KR meet in the first final without one of Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves and St Helens since 1986.

Both desperate to end massive waits to lift the cup tensions have been high and there have been some sticky moments.

There was some pushing and shoving that led to the opening points via the boot of Ben Reynolds and then before the break Hull KR nailed a penalty to make it 10-8 after a similar moment.

During this incident there was a suggestion of a head butt which was dismissed by official Chris Kendall who described it as “rutting heads” rather than a head but from Ben Reynolds.

The Leopards had started strongly making in roads through the middle of Hull KR’s defence and winning a penalty after a high tackle from Rhys Kennedy on Tom Amone.

Hull KR withstood the pressure from the Leopards and as they came away from their own end John Asiata dived at a Hull KR players’ legs to effect a tackle.

Elliot Minchella took except to the incident and started a minor scrap with plenty of pushing and shoving.

Hull KR were penalised and Ben Reynolds kicked the goal to make it 2-0.

Asiata’s tackle technique has been under major scrutiny lately after the semi-final win over St Helens.

That day Asiata injured four St Helens stars with low tackles. Morgan Knowles suffered a knock, Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook was out for nearly a month and the seasons of Alex Walmsley and Agnatius Paasi were ended.

Paul Wellens said that Paasi’s knee was “blown to smithereens” as he did his MCL, ACL and ankle ligaments.

Jon Wilkin said these low tackles were “incredibly dangerous” on social media. Meanwhile, Paul Wellens would late say “he’s out of control” and would slam the RFL for not protecting his players.

He has been referred to the compliance board as consequence but there has been a lot of focus on Asiata since and it was that which led to Minchella.

Some may suggest the tackle should have been punished. But what did official Chris Kendall have to say:

“There’s nothing illegal about the tackle technique,” he could be heard on BBC.

“The incident is caused when Elliot Minchella runs over and starts pushing so it’s a penalty against you [Hull KR.]”

Hull KR responded to this early controversy with a try. Minchella was the man that made it with a break up the middle and the try was finished off by Jez Litten in support going under the sticks.

Brad Schneider’s conversion made it 6-2 to the Robins. It so far has been a nervy but very good Challenge Cup Final.