Leinster handed Wasps a record defeat in Europe as the Heineken Champions Cup holders thrashed the Gallagher Premiership side 52-3 at the RDS on Friday night. Nathaniel Cope from RugbyPass was in Dublin to see how Leo Cullen’s side fared as they began the defence of their title.
15. Rob Kearney 6
One of his quieter performances, he never got the ball in hand. He made no tackles, he didn’t have to, due to the one-way traffic in this match. Subbed off just before the hour mark.
14. Jordan Larmour 7
It’s never dull watching him, kicked out on the full in the 20th minute, took a fine up and under in the 22nd. Almost got caught out in his own 22 as he tried to dance his way out late in the first half. Switched to full back when Rob Kearney was subbed, scored a 72nd minute try. The full gamut.
13. Garry Ringrose 8
His partnership with Robbie Henshaw was one of the standout elements of the match. His 36th minute break opened the field for his outside centre, but didn’t yield a try. They did manage to fashion one between them in the 74th minute. On this showing Bundee Aki will do well to dismantle this duo internationally
12. Robbie Henshaw 9
Seems to have bulked up over the summer. Showed good gas in the 36th minute but he couldn’t quite get past the wily Willie Le Roux, who guided him to the outside. Try in the 74th minute, doing brilliantly to slide in the corner.
11. James Lowe 9
He’s eligible for Ireland by 2020 and the former Chief will be an excellent addition. His 31st minute break in midfield failed to come off with his pass to Sexton not executed properly. His first try in the 41st minute was sublime, he broke from just beyond the halfway line beating multiple defenders stepping inside Le Roux. Added a second in the 60th minute scoring in the corner. Always a threat when he had the ball in hand, clocking up a mighty 164 metres.
10. Johnny Sexton 8
Wasps somewhat stifled Leinster in the first half, but following Lima Sopoaga’s yellow card Sexton helped carve open Premiership side and there was no way back by the time they were restored to 15 men. His outrageous under-the-legs pass to help set up James Lowe’s 60th minute try was a wonderful piece of individual skill. Six from six with the boot too.
Magical. Out of this world. Stunning.@leinsterrugby are playing a different brand of rugby!
— Watch Shoulder to Shoulder live on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) October 12, 2018
9. Luke McGrath 9
Opportune try off the back of a break from Jack Conan, to help Leinster to a 14-3 half-time lead. Second try running a support line for James Lowe. A fine individual performance from a player who is being pushed by Jamison Gibson-Park
1. Cian Healy 6
One of his quieter games, not as prominent in the loose as he often is. Came off at half-time.
2. Sean Cronin 5
A hooker with pace to burn, illustrated by his 5th minute try. Had a bit of a shocker at lineout-time with far too many crooked throws and some that made their man weren’t clean either.
3. Tadgh Furlong 7
A brilliant 51st minute break included a step, followed by a composed offload to James Lowe as Lima Sopoaga tackled him, which led to McGrath’s second try. Tightheads are different nowadays and expected to contribute more in open play and he’s a fine exponent of that – James Lowe called him a “special human” after the game.
4. Devin Toner 6
A popular figure at the RDS among the home crowd. Was not as dominant at the lineout as he’d like, not helped by a few stray throws. Did the necessary, but nothing spectacular.
5. James Ryan 8
Lineout steal in the 39th minute on the Leinster 22 after Wasps had finally emerged from their own half. Not long afterwards Leinster were breaking and Lima Sopoaga tried to stop them with a stray hand which earned a yellow, a game-turning point. 10 carries for 37 metres, he gets through his fair share of grunt too.
6. Rhys Ruddock 7
A late replacement for Dan Leavy, who didn’t make it through the warm-up. His match highlight didn’t come until the 78th minute when took out referee Romain Poite. In all seriousness, when you can bring out a backrow who has captained Ireland, when not originally named in the matchday 23, it shows the embarrassment of riches at Leinster’s disposal.
7. Josh van der Flier 6
29th minute break from which nothing materialised. Four carries for 17 metres and 5 tackles to his name, a relatively quiet day for the flanker who was eventually replaced by Sean O’Brien in the 56th minute.
8. Jack Conan 8
Industrious as ever, 14 carries for 50 metres, one in particular helped open some space for Luke McGrath’s opening try in first-half injury time. Also Leinster’s top tackler with 10. Sean O’Brien and Caelen Doris are going to have to work hard to take the number 8 jersey from him.
16. James Tracy 7
55th minute replacement for Sean Cronin and put in a decent shift with six tackles. He didn’t have any issues at lineout time either.
17. Jack McGrath 8
A half-time sub for Cian Healy. Try in the 79th minute to cap a decent outing.
18. Andrew Porter 6
55th minute replacement for Tadhg Furlong. Failed to hold on to a Luke McGrath pass only a few metres from the try line just before the hour mark. Did little else of note during his time on the pitch.
19. Scott Fardy 6
Replaced Devin Toner in the 63rd minute, game was long over by then, chipped in with three tackles.
20. Sean O’Brien 7
56th minute sub for Josh van der Flier. After a quiet performance at number 8 against Munster at the Aviva, back in his more familiar flanker position. A useful evening’s work from the ‘Tullow Tank’ which included a turnover, and he made inroads when he did get ball in hand.
21. Nick McCarthy 6
62nd minute sub for Luke McGrath. Kept a dominant Leinster team ticking over ’til the end.
22. Ross Byrne 6
69th minute replacement for Johnny Sexton. One from three when it came to conversions, however the two missed were from the touchline.
23. Joe Tomane 4
Came on in the 53rd minute for Rob Kearney, and went on to right wing with Larmour switching to full back. He didn’t get his hands on the ball, a strange outing, the game passed him by somewhat. He’s yet to make an impact since his summer arrival and on this evidence he may not do so.
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