Wednesday 13 December 2017

Leinster player ratings: Key veterans failed to fire while young guns rose to the occasion

23 April 2017; Leinster players following the European Rugby Champions Cup Semi-Final match between ASM Clermont Auvergne and Leinster at Matmut Stadium de Gerland in Lyon, France. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
23 April 2017; Leinster players following the European Rugby Champions Cup Semi-Final match between ASM Clermont Auvergne and Leinster at Matmut Stadium de Gerland in Lyon, France. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Here is how Ruaidhri O'Connor rated Leinster after their 27-22 Champions Cup semi-final loss to Clermont.

Joey Carbery - 7

Like many, he struggled early on but once he caught his first high ball he grew into the game and caused the Clermont chasers real problems.

Fergus McFadden - 6

Too often left isolated and will rue one poor kick, but he brought real aggression as Leinster clawed their way back into the game.

Garry Ringrose - 8

Recovered from a glaring early error to pose plenty of problems to the Clermont defence. One of the catalysts of the come-back, his try was one for the annals.

Robbie Henshaw - 8

Looked every inch a Lion as he took the game by the scruff of the neck and showed that his passing game is worth further exploration.

Isa Nacewa - 5

Looked to bring an edge to proceedings and too often overdid it. Clermont had plenty of joy down his wing, while his yellow card was costly.

Johnny Sexton - 6

Still looks to be carrying an injury and took some time to grow into the game. When he got going, so did Leinster and he nailed some clutch kicks.

Luke McGrath - 7

Came under severe pressure, but delivered at key moments and made a try-scoring tackle on Peceli Yato. Still improving, but looks increasingly comfortable at this level.

Jack McGrath - 6

A few strong moments with ball in hand and just about held water at scrum-time before being withdrawn on the hour-mark.

Richardt Strauss - 4

Off target with his first three lineouts which allowed Clermont dominate the early exchanges. Struggled to get involved in open play and withdrawn early.

Tadhg Furlong - 6

Offered himself as a link-man and made one huge hit, but couldn't get his carrying game going over the course of the game. Like McGrath, he did his part at scrum-time without dominating.

Hayden Triggs - 5

Put in a shift and grafted for his team against class opposition. His handling helped Leinster back into the game in what will be his final European game for the province.

Devin Toner - 5

Must take some blame for the early lineout woes and might have taken pressure off Strauss by calling to the front. Clermont relished his carries, but he got better as the game went on.

Rhys Ruddock - 8

Arguably his best game in a Leinster jersey. Made carry after carry, forcing Clermont on to the back foot and causing them to doubt at a time of strength.

Dan Leavy - 6

Thought he’d scored the all-important try, but his own indiscretion saw it chalked off. His monstrous tackle on Remi Lamerat helped turn the tide and he gave everything.

Jack Conan - 7

Followed Ruddock’s lead and carried brilliantly, particularly in the second half, making 66 metres from 11 carries. His evolution into a viable alternative to Jamie Heaslip is a big plus.

Substitutes - 5

Seán Cronin came in at a pivotal moment and a poor kick invited Clermont back into the game. Ross Molony was excellent, but otherwise the likes of Zane Kirchner, Josh van der Flier and Jamison Gibson-Park couldn’t alter the flow. Peter Dooley did well, but Cian Healy’s presence was missed.

Leo Cullen - 6

Will take responsibility for the poor start, but in conjunction with Stuart Lancaster he has overseen major improvements this season. The comeback spoke volumes about his side’s belief.

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