Exeter player ratings: Exeter’s hopes of retaining their European crown came to a shuddering halt at Sandy Park this evening as Leinster advanced to the semi-finals with a 34-22 win.
The defending champions raced into a 14-0 advantage inside the opening 10 minutes, but thereafter were second best to the four-in-a-row PRO14 champions, who scored 20 unanswered points to take a six-point lead at the break.
A try for Dave Ewers early in the second half gave the home side hope, but Jordan Larmour’s score was crucial as the four-time champions secured victory.
EXETER PLAYER RATINGS
15. STUART HOGG – 6
Unable to stop Keenan’s offload to Lowe for the visitors’ first try, and was shrugged off too easily for Larmour’s second half try. Struggled to replicate his Six Nations form and was not able to get his side on the front foot.
14. OLLY WOODBURN – 5
A couple of missed tackles on Lowe early on, while he failed to deal with Keenan as Leinster hit back. Couldn’t work himself into the game and was replaced by Whitten.
13. HENRY SLADE – 6.5
Picked off Furlong to scythe through and put O’Flaherty away for his second try. Some important defensive contributions too.
12. OLLIE DEVOTO – 6
A lovely dummy line to hold the Leinster defence as O’Flaherty sprinted clear for the opener, and offered a hard-running, direct option as they looked to get back into the game.
11. TOM O’FLAHERTY – 8
Two excellent early tries – first a superb solo finish before getting on the end of Slade’s pass for his second try – and another break to spark Exeter at the start of the second half.
10. JOE SIMMONDS – 5
Won’t be getting his hands on the trophy this year despite some lovely early touches in attack, including the delay to put O’Flaherty away early in the second half. Exeter’s ‘Plan A’ in attack didn’t work and their captain wasn’t able to pick the lock of the Leinster defence in the second half.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 10, 2021
9. JACK MAUNDER – 4
A difficult afternoon with the boot as his box-kicks regularly found more height than distance. He was not able to control the territorial battle and made way for Townsend shortly before the hour.
1. BEN MOON – 5
Parity at the set-piece gave Exeter a platform for their blistering start before the England international was part of a defensive effort until he made way for Hepburn with half an hour remaining.
2. LUKE COWAN-DICKIE – 5
A wayward lineout opened the door for Larmour to score, and he wasn’t able to have an impact at the breakdown as Leinster dominated that area.
3. TOMAS FRANCIS – 5
Back in the starting line-up having come off the bench in the win over Lyon, but it was a quiet afternoon for the Welshman, who wasn’t able to get the upper hand on Cian Healy at the scrum.
4. JONNY GRAY – 7
To the fore with ball in hand, notably in the build-up to their second try, taking on the Leinster tight five, and did his fair share of defensive work before departing on 58 minutes, replaced by international colleague Skinner.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 10, 2021
5. JONNY HILL – 6.5
Won a vital turnover penalty with Leinster camped on the Chiefs line, but perhaps lucky to escape a card for a high shot on Byrne late in the first half. A physical presence for Ewers’ try.
6. DAVE EWERS – 7.5
A real workhorse who put in his customary powerful carries in close quarters, and showed he’s developing his game with a couple of soft offloads. A deserved try-scorer and the pick of the Chiefs back-row.
7. JACQUES VERMEULEN – 5
Unable to have the necessary impact in the first half as Josh van der Flier regularly poached Exeter ball at the breakdown and made way early for Kirsten early in the second period.
8. SAM SIMMONDS – 6
A potential Lions bolter? Simmonds needed a huge performance today but he wasn’t able to get the upper hand as Leinster’s breakaway trio – Man of the Match van der Flier, in particular, dominated. Simmonds was not able to stamp his authority on the game and found himself notably shut down quickly by the Leinster defence.
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