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Leinster player ratings vs Bulls | 2023/24 URC semi-final

By Ian Cameron
Dan Sheehan of Leinster during the United Rugby Championship semi-final match between Vodacom Bulls and Leinster at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo By Shaun Roy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster player ratings: The men in blue may have sent the Ireland team in disguise to Pretoria but they struggled against a tactically astute Bulls side, who had their number and deserved their tight win.

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Here’s how we rated the Leinster players, who once again choked on the big stage.

15. Jimmy O’Brien – 6
A marginally better performance from O’Brien after an error-strewn outing against Ulster a week ago. Shipped a big hit unsuccessfully attempting to stop Elrigh Louw. Some decent moments but was eclipsed by the superb Willie Le Roux.

14. Jordan Larmour – 5
The frequent kicking didn’t exactly suit him. Kept busy in defence where he was getting peppered with crossfield kicks. Injected pace into proceedings on the rare occasion he got the ball in space.

13. Garry Ringrose – 7
Announced himself with a thumping hit and it was to be the first of many. An impressive performance given he hasn’t played in three months.

12. Robbie Henshaw – 5
A solid opening from Henshaw who was powerful in contact, consistently getting over the gain line. Questions do need to be asked about why Leinster’s midfield is lacking bite, with Henshaw more battering ram than rapier these days.

11. James Lowe – 8
Plenty of kick tennis from Lowe early on and he generally came out on top in those exchanges. Took his 23rd minute try well and remained cool and collected, even on the back foot. His chip and collect was top draw. Not at fault here.

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Kicks

42
Total Kicks
37
1:3.2
Kick To Pass Ratio
1:5.1

10. Ross Byrne – 4
His kicking radar seemed a little scrambled at altitude, with mixed accuracy from hand and the tee. His lack of presence and the nagging feeling that Leinster lack shape in attack under his stewardship is hard to shake. The standoff torch needs to be passed.

9. Jamison Gibson-Park – 7.5
Quick to the breakdown and sharp with his passing, Gibson-Park was a bright spot for Leinster. Cleaned up more messes than a janitor at a junior disco.

1. Andrew Porter – 4
Rinsed in the first scrum by Wilco Louw; a rare, rare sight for Porter and a worrying one for Ireland head coach Andy Farrell.

Set Plays

4
Scrums
6
75%
Scrum Win %
67%
15
Lineout
10
93%
Lineout Win %
100%
6
Restarts Received
6
100%
Restarts Received Win %
83%

2. Dan Sheehan – 5
He and Porter were constantly split by the giant Louw as Leinster’s scrum crumbled. Tried to get involved in the loose, the highlight being his bin-manning of replacement hooker Akker van der Merwe in the 44th minute.

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3. Tadhg Furlong – 5
Carried reasonably on occasion but it couldn’t gloss over a disastrous setpiece, where the chickens really have come home to roost in an area of concern for Leinster and Ireland.

4. Joe McCarthy – 5
Did his best to get in amongst with the Bulls forward. His coach-killing penalty in the 52th summed up his second half, where he seemed to lose the head.

5. James Ryan – 6
Ryan was dominant in the lineouts and carried competently when he had the opportunity. Brings a leadership otherwise lacking in his absence.

6. Ryan Baird – 5
Proved a real nuisance in the lineouts for the Bulls and was solid in the thin Pretorian air before dropping a number of costly balls as his gas tank reached empty.

7. Josh van der Flier – 6
A workhorse, van der Flier was on tackling duty today with the breakdown not being heavily invested in by either side until the latter stages when the Bulls really went after Leinster.

8. Caelan Doris – 6
Provided a much-needed boost for an ailing Leinster with his try on the 50th minute. Stayed in the fight even if the Bulls were giving them crumbs.

Replacements
16. Rónan Kelleher – 8
Scrums definitely seemed to improve with Kelleher on and he contributed in the loose too. A superb shift off the pines.

17. Cian Healy – NA
Not on long enough to rate.

18. Michael Ala’alatoa – 6
The scrums certainly didn’t get any worse with the Samoan on, which isn’t saying all that much given how poor Leinster were in this area.

19. Ross Molony – 5
Molony added fresh legs but failed to turn the tide.

20. Jack Conan – 6
Sporting a moustache, Conan never took a backward step but struggled to make inroads against a resolute Bulls defence.

21. Luke McGrath – 6
McGrath’s service was crisp, but his influence was limited as the Bulls maintained end-game control.

22. Ciarán Frawley – 4
A nightmare cameo for Frawley who has been excellent all season, but whose botched kick reception for the Sergel Petersen try may have been the losing of the match.

23. Jamie Osborne – 7
Osborne made a noticeable impact in his short time on the pitch, with several telling carries that broke the Bulls’ defensive line and provided a late spark for Leinster.

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Comments

4 Comments
T
T-Bone 31 days ago

Ross Byrne has to be one of the worst 10s I’ve ever seen
No running game
Aimless kicks
No speed to get himself out of situations
Can’t get his backline going

I’m sure Ireland will go with Crowley who is better but Byrne actually hampered Leinster

V
Vellies 32 days ago

The whole front row should get 1 max… it is the Irish starting 3 and the Bulls demolished them…

C
Chris 32 days ago

Good omen for the Springboks. Lekker

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