‘A fuss over nothing’ – Punditry duo defend John Asiata controversial tackle technique in Challenge Cup final 

Josh McAllister
John Asiata of Leigh Leopards tackles Kane Linnett of Hull KR Alamy

John Kear and Jonathan Davies have defended John Asiata's controversial tackling technique. Photo by PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo.

BBC punditry duo Jonathan Davies and John Kear have defended John Asiata’s controversial tackle technique during the Challenge Cup final.

The Leigh Leopards skipper has been one of the talking points of the game in recent weeks after his low technique ended the seasons of both Alex Walmsley and Agnatius Paasi during the semi-final against St Helens.

Speaking exclusively with Love Rugby League, Asiata defended his tackling, stressing he has no intention to deliberately hurt any of his opponents.

But St Helens boss Paul Wellens called out the governing body for failing to protect its players after Asiata escaped any suspension following the clash in Warrington, although the technique is not currently illegal.

Wellens, in his first season in charge of Saints, labelled Asiata’s style as ‘out of control’ and has since been referred to the Rugby Football League’s compliance department for his comments.

However, punditry duo and veterans of the game Davies and Kear both agreed there is nothing wrong with the tackling technique after a coming together during the Challenge Cup final between Leigh and Hull KR after Asiata tackled opposition forward George King.

The low tackle sparked a reaction from Elliot Minchella, with referee Chris Kendall awarding a penalty to the Leopards in what saw Adrian Lam’s side open the scoring through the boot of Ben Reynolds.

BBC punditry duo defend John Asiata

“There’s a lot of comments and questions about the high tackles, but that’s a proper tackle,” Davies said on Asiata’s tackling.

“The one thing he does get wrong, he gets his head in the wrong position. He’s going to injure himself more than he injures the ball carrier there.

“For me, there’s nothing wrong with that tackle. It’s a low tackle and a fuss over nothing.”

Agreeing with his co-commentator, veteran coach Kear added: “There’s nothing wrong with that.”

Hull KR currently lead 6-2 at Wembley Stadium thanks to the opening try from starting hooker Jez Litten, assisted by a break from Elliot Minchella.

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