independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Players Ratings

Munster: 15 FELIX JONES 7: Lively showing from the young full-back whose return from injury has been extremely productive and gives him an outside World Cup shot.



14 DOUG HOWLETT 8

Took his try superbly and unleashed a wonderful second-half break that cut Leinster apart down the middle.

13 DANNY BARNES 6

Caught out a couple of times but showed commendable commitment.

12 LIFEIMI MAFI 7

Dangerous throughout, this was more like the Mafi of 2007/08 as he ran onto the ball with pace and purpose.

11 KEITH EARLS 7

Excellent work for crucial try and rounded off a fine season with another good showing.

10 RONAN O'GARA 7

Outplayed his rival for the Ireland No 10 shirt. Was a firm hand on the tiller.

9 CONOR MURRAY 7

The breakthrough player of the season looked comfortable and deserves a chance in the August World Cup warm-up matches.

1 MARCUS HORAN 5

Part of a decent scrummaging effort but responsible for an ill-advised body check on O'Driscoll.

2 DAMIEN VARLEY 5

A feisty display in the loose but the hooker's worth is diluted by line-out wobbles. Test standard if he can hit his jumpers.

3 JOHN HAYES 8

Magnificent display by the old warrior who was still going strong for the penalty try at the end. Will be 38 in November but, based on this, should have a third World Cup campaign under his belt before blowing out his candles.

4 DONNCHA O'CALLAGHAN 6

Rounded off his good season with another full-hearted display, and was a solid option in the line-out, but his second-half yellow card put his team under pressure.

5 PAUL O'CONNELL 8

An excellent showing by the captain. A rallying figure in the pack with numerous carries. Bodes well for his World Cup.

6 DONNACHA RYAN 7

Threw himself into the fray with commendable zeal and was even more effective when moved into his natural position of second-row.

7 DAVID WALLACE 9

Marked his 200th Munster appearance with an all-action, man-of-the-match display. Sean O'Brien had got all the plaudits this season, but Wallace showed why he's still a major force.

8 JAMES COUGHLAN 9

Pushed Wallace close for man of the match while outplaying Lions No 8 Jamie Heaslip. Dark horse for the World Cup, if he gets the chance to perform in August.

REPLACEMENTS

MIKE SHERRY (7): Talented young hooker played a big part in Munster's penalty try.

WIAN DU PREEZ (7): Improved the Munster scrum when he came on, the South African has been one of Munster's better overseas signings.

DENIS LEAMY (6): Great man to bring off the bench when the contest is in the balance. Intense physicality keeps the Tipperary man in the World Cup picture.

COACH

TONY McGAHAN 8

The Magners League coach of the year had his men at the perfect pitch and deserved this reward for his work in bringing players through over the season. Can enjoy his summer before continuing Munster's restoration work in 2011/12.

Leinster

15 ISA NACEWA 6

Flashes of his genius but was not allowed to wield too much influence.

14 SHANE HORGAN 6

Not his best game but had excellent campaign. A third World Cup campaign would be well merited.

13 BRIAN O'DRISCOLL 8

Another top-drawer display. Leinster's most dangerous attacker, he produced the contest's stand-out moment with a searing break and exquisite pass.

12 FERGUS McFADDEN 7

Did not get the ball to run onto that he would have wished for but was a constant threat and deserves to go to New Zealand.

11 LUKE FITZGERALD 6

Mixed some shaky moments with big hits and elusive surges. Tough season for Fitzgerald, but his class is glaringly obvious.

10 JONATHAN SEXTON 6

Hard to replicate the wonders of Cardiff, but the Leinster out-half had a decent outing.

9 EOIN REDDAN 6

Was at the heart of Leinster's best passage of play but knows the challenge posed by Murray with the World Cup looming.

1 HEINKE VAN DER MERWE 6

Engrossing battle with Hayes at scrum-time but not able to impose himself in the loose. Can be satisfied with industrious season.

2 RICHARDT STRAUSS 6

Like his team, this looked like it was a game too far for Leinster's lion-heart. The visitors missed his broken-field surges.

3 MIKE ROSS 7

Scrummaged and carried well, although he needs to learn to drop the shoulder in contact. Penalty try would not have happened on his watch.

4 LEO CULLEN 6

Gave his all but the long season has taken its toll on Cullen. A key figure in Ireland's World Cup campaign later this year.

5 NATHAN HINES 6

Deserved to end his Leinster career on a high -- the Scot from Wagga Wagga has been one of Leinster's best second-rows.

6 SEAN O'BRIEN 6

The European Player of the Year struggled to make the surges that have become his trademark but that should not detract from a stunning season.

7 SHANE JENNINGS 8

A performance packed with energy and commitment. Ireland have an array of quality back-row options for the World Cup and Jennings ranks high among them.

8 JAMIE HEASLIP 6

Heavily involved when Leinster were pushing hard for a game-changing try after half-time but was largely quietened by Munster's forward supremacy. Central figure for New Zealand 2011.

REPLACEMENTS

AARON DUNDON (5): Part of an unfamiliar

front-row for the penalty try, but good

exposure.

CIAN HEALY (5): Excellent season but could not make an impact here off the bench.

STAN WRIGHT (5): Despite going out on a flat

note, the Cook Islander has earned his place in

Leinster's hall of fame

KEVIN McLAUGHLIN (6): Decent impact

which should have been rewarded with an end-

game try.

PAUL O'DONOHOE (6): Showed what he can

bring to Connacht next season with an up-

tempo cameo.

COACH

JOE SCHMIDT 7

Hard to see what more he could have done after a canny selection and ready use of the bench. Defeat should not detract from a wonderful debut season.

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