Friday 17 August 2018

Leinster player ratings: Numerous top performers as hosts bully Scarlets into submission at the Aviva

Jonathan Sexton of Leinster celebrates with teammates, from left, Rob Kearney, Robbie Henshaw, Jordan Larmour, Jamison Gibson-Park and Garry Ringrose, after scoring his side's fifth try during the European Rugby Champions Cup Semi-Final match between Leinster Rugby and Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Jonathan Sexton of Leinster celebrates with teammates, from left, Rob Kearney, Robbie Henshaw, Jordan Larmour, Jamison Gibson-Park and Garry Ringrose, after scoring his side's fifth try during the European Rugby Champions Cup Semi-Final match between Leinster Rugby and Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Des Berry

Over to you Munster. Leinster will seek a fourth European title on May 12 and the only issue that remains is who they will face in Bilbao. Here are the Leinster player ratings from today's 38-16 win over the Scarlets

PLAYER RATINGS

ROB KEARNEY: The veteran with the big game temperament was sharp from the off when others looked tentative even though Leinster’s keep ball restricted his work in defence. He almost picked up a try in the last quarter – 7.

FERGUS McFADDEN: A simple knock-on cost Leinster three points. But, it meant he played with anger, ferreting forward on the ball from there on and notching up a crucial try on half-time when he was replaced due to a dead leg – 7.

GARRY RINGROSE: The lean thinking machine was the perfect antidote for Scarlets on the edge, shepherding carriers towards the touchline, hitting soft shoulders and squeezing out a beauty of a pass for McFadden’s try. A master of under-stated excellence – 9.

ROBBIE HENSHAW: The worry about the inside centre being able to immediately switch back into life in the fastest lane faded from his laser skip pass to Isa Nacewa down the left and thunderous carrying up the guts – 9.

ISA NACEWA: The comments about the 35 year old’s diminishing powers have been greatly exaggerated. The gift of speed is nothing without a ‘lifer’s’ experience of what it takes to make it. The ball is rarely in better hands – 8.

JONATHAN SEXTON: Man of the Match. The details of the captain’s game were exquisite from the precision passing, accurate line kicking, the sky-high ball that had Steff Evans dizzy, the cherry-on-top try to the six-from-six place kicking – 9.

JAMISON GIBSON-PARK: There was a void to be filled and he poured everything into it. He was measured as a facilitator, picking out runners with ease, even though there were one or two issues with decision-making close to the line – 8.

CIAN HEALY: The rejuvenated loose-head had to lock shoulders with the rock solid Samson Lee, getting pinged for two penalties. He rescued a loose ruck before getting to his feet to hammer home the second try – 8.

SEAN CRONIN: Devin Toner was a can’t miss target at the lineout. There were trademark bursts to set the pulse racing in a game made for his skills. There was one unacceptable high tackle to relieve pressure on Scarlets – 7.

TADHG FURLONG: He was well-briefed on the illegal angles Rob Evans favours when scrum matters don’t go his way. He kept square there and in defence where there was no way through, dropping one ball when tempted to reach for glory – 8.  

DEVIN TONER: Why bother with over-complicating the lineout when Leinster have guaranteed ball from the Meath man. He also made the restarts his own and got away with illegally playing ahead of the ball carrier around the fringes – 8.

JAMES RYAN: He spilled his first pass, making up for it by scoring a try from his first significant carry. There is a level of athleticism that showed Tadhg Beirne it won’t be his place that will be on offer for Ireland – 9.

SCOTT FARDY: Released to play in his best position, he looked short of pace when taking Rob Evans high for three points. This was soon forgotten on the back of controlled aggression, one sumptuous piece of handling and a power-packed try – 8.

DAN LEAVY: The do-it-all loose forward came into this as the best openside in Europe. The hurtful punishment dished out in defence made his personal space a no-go area with the exception of the odd penalty indiscretion – 8.

JORDI MURPHY: This Jack-of-all-Trades gave Leinster another legitimate presence at the ruck and an engine to patrol and to protect any perceived openings on the fringes. An unsung hero committed to playing his role – 7.

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