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Leinster player ratings vs La Rochelle - Investec Champions Cup 2023/24

By Ian Cameron
Joe McCarthy of Leinster is tackled by Jack Nowell of La Rochelle during the Investec Champions Cup quarter-final match between Leinster and La Rochelle at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster player ratings: Leinster claimed some long-awaited knockout revenge on La Rochelle in a match that promised much but ultimately ended up a one-sided spectacle at a sold-out Aviva Stadium. It was clear from the outset that these two teams knew each other’s playbooks almost as well as their own, but the home side were in the driving seat for this one, with the visitors not getting much more than a sniff.

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Here’s how we rated the Leinster players:

1. Andrew Porter – 7
Porter held his own in a tough battle against Uini Atonio, giving as good as he got. His work rate was top-notch as usual, once again proving a real problem at the breakdown.

2. Dan Sheehan – 7.5
Sheehan’s lineout darts showed marked improvement from recent performances, providing Leinster with crucial accuracy and consistency in that area of the game that has been pretty cat recently. Was busy in the loose and popped up on the wing to score in the 56th minute.

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3. Tadhg Furlong – 7
Furlong had the upper hand over the inexperienced Louis Penverne in the scrums and got on the ball a few times, even if he struggled to make headway against a fierce white and yellow defence. That said, generally came out on top in contact.

4. Joe McCarthy – 7.5
Joe McCarthy displayed maturity beyond his years, matching La Rochelle’s physicality blow for blow and proving a key asset in the tight exchanges. Showed he’s no slowpoke at the breakdown, with an early turnover relieving pressure on his teammates and late one kicking off a melee in the 77th minute.

5. Jason Jenkins – 6.6
The 124kg Springbok brought notable grit and heft to the proceedings, lending some much-needed physicality to Leinster’s efforts at the Aviva. Carried well in traffic on the few occasions he saw the ball.

Fixture
Investec Champions Cup
Leinster
40 - 13
Full-time
La Rochelle
All Stats and Data

6. Ryan Baird – 8
Baird proved he’s more than just an open-field threat, and was very much in amongst it in the trenches. Was Leinster’s most frequent carrier in the first half and got through a tonne of work. Deservedly got on the end of a 5-pointer after riding the tackle of Antoine Hastory on the flank.

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7. Will Connors – 6
The 6’4 flanker’s selection was a talking point before the game, with many presuming his size saw him get the nod over Van der Flier after a good showing against Ronan O’Gara’s side back in December. He was tireless in defence and tried to be a nuisance at the ruck. Against that, failing to give the ball to Lowe in a 2-on-1 in the 21st minute cost Leinster a certain try.

8. Caelan Doris – 7
One of the more effective forwards, Doris carried bravely and was pivotal in several of Leinster’s key phases. His defensive work was top-notch, making crucial tackles that helped stymy the French side’s relentless bludgeoning attacks.

9. Jamison Gibson-Park – 8.5
After his heroics against Leicester, you might have expected Gibson-Park to be quieter, but you’d have been wrong. Now inarguably the defacto field marshal for this Leinster side, he came out well on top in his one-on-one battle with Tawera Kerr-Barlow, with a 37th-minute try to his name after he linked up on the flank with Lowe, care of a very flat offload. Was everywhere and even won an unlikely breakdown turnover.

10. Ross Byrne – 8
Despite his critics, the 31-year-old flyhalf showed he can steer Leinster when push comes to shove. His kicking game was on point bar one post hit and – a few middling tackle attempts aside – gave a really good account of himself. His tap-on pass for Lowe’s try was a highlight. Somehow survived a murder-ball hit from Levani Botia in the 45th minute.

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Attack

168
Passes
137
109
Ball Carries
108
166m
Post Contact Metres
185m
7
Line Breaks
3

11. James Lowe – 7.5
Lowe’s kicking game was a highlight, with Leinster frequently getting the better of the kick-tennis exchanges with Brice Dulin-less La Rochelle.  Showed he is still one of the most dangerous carriers of the ball 10 metres out from the try line.

12. Jamie Osborne – 7
A solid performance from Osborne who generally defended well and tried to spark his side with some powerful charges up the centre. He found the occasional gap but his passing game and vision are still a work on. Kicked well too.

13. Robbie Henshaw – 7
Henshaw put in a hard shift in midfield, defending well. Occasionally punched holes in La Rochelle’s centre pairing of Jonathan Danty and Ulupano Seuteni, even if line breaks were in short supply.

14. Jordan Larmour – 7
A 13th-minute strip turnover was impressive and he had moments where his trademark elusiveness shone. That said, was more often than not well contained by La Rochelle’s organized defence, who read him well.

Match Summary

3
Penalty Goals
2
5
Tries
1
3
Conversions
1
0
Drop Goals
0
109
Carries
108
7
Line Breaks
3
5
Turnovers Lost
12
5
Turnovers Won
1

15. Ciaran Frawley – 7
A late call-up for Keenan, Frawley stepped up impressively, playing a crucial role with his solid defence and smart offensive choices. His 50th-minute shoot-out tackle on Teddy Thomas may have been a sliding-doors moment for La Rochelle. Was on the receiving end of some unmerciful hits.

REPLACEMENTS: 

16. Ronan Kelleher – 7
Brought energy and impact off the bench, particularly in the loose where he challenged La Rochelle’s tired defenders.

17. Michael Milne – 7
Worked hard around the park, with more than a handful of positive contributions.

18. Michael Alaalatoa – 6
Provided continuity in the scrums when he came on, even if he didn’t offer a hell of a lot in the loose.

19. Ross Molony – 5
Didn’t have a huge impact on proceeding, with the game pretty much wrapped up when he came on.

20. Jack Conan – 7
Leinster’s very own one-man ‘Bomb Squad’, he made his presence felt with powerful runs and solid defence, even if it was a brief cameo.

Turnovers

5
Turnovers Won
1
5
Turnovers Lost
12

21. Luke McGrath – NA
Not on long enough to rate.

22. Harry Byrne – 6.5
24-year-old man Byrne had limited time but managed a couple of tidy plays, showing promise in the brief outing.

23. Josh van der Flier – 7.5
Finding himself in the extremely rare position of bench warming, Van der Flier was exceptional when he entered the fray, making key tackles and bursts that reinvigorated Leinster’s challenge.

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Abe 1 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

Not a fan of your picks. McReight is good at club level but he is too small for international level and has consistently disappointed there. Better to go for larger guys. Kemeney, Valentini, Hooper, Leota, Samu, Swinton, etc. Aalatoa and Nonga are woeful scrummagers and don’t offer much around the field. Wallabies will not win if the scrum falls to pieces. The fact that Faamissli hasn’t been developed is a tragedy. Need a scrum that doesn’t give away penalties. So looks like a Talakai maybe instead. Best scrummagers need to be selected. McDermott runs the ball too much and doesn’t fit into a structured attack like Schmidts. Gets isolated too often. Ok off the bench late but not for 60 mins. Goal kicking has to be one of the top 3 points for a 10 so that does in Gordon and O’Connor. Be better off going for lynagh on that front. Donaldson and Noah seem to be doing best of the established names. QC a better mentor type guy than OConnor as well if he’s playing. Daugunu has been the most consistent 13 and breaks the line a lot so must be in the squad. Joost has also been good. Richie Arnold playing well for Toulouse and is a preeminent lineout jumper so needs to be in. Latu also playing well for La Rochelle and is better scrummager than the Aussie choices so should be in. The big guy at the Tahs Amataroso I think it is needs to be developed as well. Otherwise the team will be too small. Hodge is a better choice at fullback than Wright. Latter makes too many mistakes. Not sure if Hodge available.

7 Go to comments
T
Turlough 6 hours ago
Four Leinster talking points after latest Champions Cup final loss

First of all: hats off to Toulouse an outstanding performance. Duponts kicking was phenomenal. Twice he challenged Keenan with amazing clearances from his 22 in extra time. Result was territory deep in Leinster half in the early part of extra time which lead to 2 penalties and the game. Remember also his two 50:22s? Now to Willis/Dupont. ANY slight isolation by a Leinster player resulted in a turnover penalty. How many turnovers in the Toulouse 22? Leinster’s defense was immense, they had opportunities in attack but they honestly looked like they had not spent enough time passing the ball in the training in the weeks preceding the final. Game management was poor. Toulouse’s scrum had crumbled. At 15-15 Leinster had a scrum advantage in a position that would be kickable for a scrum penalty. Leinster played on and missed a long range drop goal. You MUST take the scrum surely? Win penalty and its a shot at goal to win with time up. No penalty and you can attack and drop goal whatever. The distance from sideline penalties from Byrne was shocking. If you are kicking the line you must get close to that 5 metre line. How many times were Leinster forced to maul from 10-15 metres? Toulouse KNEW Leinster was going to kick and maul and clearly spent considerable training time neutralizing thuis threat. The maul was starting too far out, Toulouse were able to stop the heart of the drive. You must change tack and start kicking for goals. That said it always felt like Toulouse were the potent team on the day with Leinster under pressure and chasing. Even with their backline completely disrupted, Toulouse found a way. 9 Wins in their last 9 finals. Leinster will be there next year. But so will Toulouse/Northhampton etc. A great era of club rugby.

17 Go to comments
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