Leinster player ratings vs Munster | 2023 URC
Leinster player ratings: On a cold and crisp evening in Dublin, Leinster edged a spirited Munster side despite an error-strewn 80 minutes from the hosts.
It was the two sides’ first competitive encounter since Leo Cullen’s men were booted out of last season’s URC at the semi-final stage by the visitors – but revenge proved hard-won here. Relief will likely be the overriding emotion after a victory that owed more to muscle memory than razzle-dazzle. Handling skills and ball security will be high on Leinster’s to-do list after an uncharacteristically profligate outing, even if it was enough to best the men in red.
15. Hugo Keenan – 5
While there was plenty of toil here from Keenan, he was unable to showcase his normally impeccable defensive abilities. Oft Leinster’s Mr Reliable, there were simply too many errors here to to call it a decent shift. In fact, his kicking aside, this may well have been the worst game of Keenan’s career. Was constantly pick-pocketed by Munster jackallers.
14. Jordan Larmour – 6
Larmour – who had fast-finding form – was on the hook here for a number of poor defensive moments. Struggled to catch the ball [he wasn’t the only one] but his brilliant finish in the 66th glossed over an otherwise unremarkable performance.
13. Garry Ringrose – 6
As co-captain, Ringrose tried to lead by example, even if Munster’s midfield had his number for the most. Stayed in the fight and – with the exception of the excellent Frawley – was maybe the least at fault of Leinster’s dysfunctional backline.
12. Robbie Henshaw – 5
Henshaw – back from an injury-plagued Rugby World Cup with Ireland – looked more than a little rusty here. He’ll have to find some form over the Christmas season if he is to break back into Ireland contention.
11. Jimmy O’Brien – 4
O’Brien must have got his winter flu jab because he didn’t catch a thing tonight. Really struggled under the high ball and in the handling department in general, and as a result was unable to impose himself in attack.
9. Jamison Gibson-Park – 7.5
Maybe Leinster’s best player, Gibson-Park’s crisp passing and whip-smart decision-making kept the Leinster backline ticking with everything going skew-whiff for Leinster in the first half. His first-half try from nothing turned the tide.
1. Andrew Porter – 7
Sporting his new, post-World Cup blonde buzzcut, Porter both anchored the scrum effectively and made his presence felt in open play. He just about got the better of Stephen Archer, even if it went down to a judge’s decision.
2. Dan Sheehan – 8
In his 48th appearance for Leinster, Sheehan was one of the brighter Leinster lights, hitting his lineouts accurately and contributing in the loose, one of the few Leinster players to regularly make dominant carries. Took his try well.
3. Tadhg Furlong – 6.5
A busy night from Furlong, whose defensive work rate was definitely on the high side. His scrummaging was sound even if his ball-carrying didn’t pose much of a threat to Munster’s aggressive defence.
4. Joe McCarthy – 6.5
Although relatively inexperienced in the grand scheme of things, McCarthy’s stock has risen significantly since he last donned the blue of Leinster. He put in a solid shift here, his carrying especially, even if his ball-handling remains a real work-on.
5. James Ryan – 6
Ryan’s leadership in the lineout and around the park was evident, even if this was one of his more lethargic efforts. While not the most glamorous of performances, he played a crucial role in the tight exchanges.
6. Jack Conan – 6
The better third of Leinster’s back row, who as a unit came up second best in the physicality stakes against a determined Munster loose forward contingent. His work rate and physicality were key in both attack and defence and some big carries dragged Leinster back into it.
7. Josh van der Flier – 5
Tackled his heart out but there were plenty of uncharacteristically loose moments from Van der Flier, another Ireland star suffering an apparent World Cup hangover.
8. Caelan Doris – 6.5
After a middling first 40, Doris grew into the game, contributing with strong carries and effective defensive work. While not the flashiest of performances, he stayed in the fight; his 78th minute turnover probably winning the game.
16. Rónan Kelleher – 7
Kelleher provided fresh legs and maintained the set-piece efficiency established by Sheehan. Helped stifle Munster’s ascendency at the breakdown.
17. Jack Boyle – NA
A short cameo for the young prop, with insufficient time to make a significant impact.
18. Michael Ala’alatoa – 6
Ala’alatoa added further stability to the scrum and showcased his experience in the dying moments of the game.
19. Ross Molony – 6
A seasoned campaigner, Molony added his physicality to the pack, maintaining the intensity set by the starting locks.
20. James Culhane – NA
21. Ben Murphy
Murphy had a brief run on the pitch, too short a duration to influence the game significantly.
22. Ciarán Frawley – 8
Frawley’s versatility was on display as he seamlessly slotted in at flyhalf for Byrne. His composure under pressure added value in the latter stages and he was a constant spark in attack with ball in hand. Really impressive in trying circumstances.
23. Scott Penny – 7
Penny brought energy off the bench, contributing to the breakdown and defensive efforts. A solid performance in a tightly contested match.