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Leinster player ratings vs Sale | Investec Champions Cup 2023/24

By Ian Cameron
Garry Ringrose of Leinster during the Investec Champions Cup Pool 4 Round 2 match between Leinster and Sale Sharks at the RDS Arena in Dublin. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster player ratings: A sleepy and error-ridden start for Leinster saw an under-strength Sale Sharks stake an early claim at the RDS, but the home side eventually came good, with a bonus point into the bargain on a 37-27 scoreline.

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15. Hugo Keenan – 6/10
Nothing exceptional from Keenan here. His link play with his fellow backs misfired on occasion, even if he consistently made the right decisions under pressure in defence. There was even the rare sight of Keenan being beaten in the air on occasion. Put under huge pressure by the Sharks’ marauding kick-chase game.

14. Jordan Larmour – 6
As ever, Larmour looked dangerous; his gain line threat an ever-present during his time on the field, even though it didn’t ultimately deliver on the scoreboard. Some questionable decision-making at times, both in attack and defence.

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13. Garry Ringrose – 6.5
Ringrose was more workmanlike than outstanding here, leading through example. His ability to put others into space and his defensive reads were central to Leinster staying in the fight.

12. Robbie Henshaw – 6
Henshaw got one of the harshest yellow cards you’ll ever see with just 3 minutes on the clock. Was solid on return and had some good moments with ball in hand, culminating in a well-taken score on 55 minutes.

11. Jimmy O’Brien – 6
O’Brien was competent enough but lacked impact in crucial phases. He participated in several plays but – like many of his teammates – didn’t capitalize on key opportunities. Stayed in the fight gamely though.

10. Ciarán Frawley – 7.5
Last weekend’s hero Ciarán Frawley didn’t quite scale the heights of Stade Marcel-Deflandre here but it was by no means a poor performance.  A few minor handling errors aside, Frawley eventually steered Leinster back into calmer waters. Some positive play with ball in hand stood out.

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9. Jamison Gibson-Park – 7
Gibson-Park had a mixed performance, efficient in delivery but lacking in urgency in the first half. Lead the fightback in the second forty with a well-taken try just after half-time.

1. Andrew Porter – 8
Set the tone with a dominant first scrum after 7 minutes and didn’t let up. Bloodied but not bowed, the loosehead gave opposing Sale tighthead James Harper a torrid time, which ultimately saw him sin-binned before halftime. The devastation he wrought on the Sale scrum kept Leinster in it in the first half.

Set Plays

7
Scrums
7
71%
Scrum Win %
57%
11
Lineout
13
91%
Lineout Win %
85%
7
Restarts Received
5
100%
Restarts Received Win %
83%

2. Dan Sheehan – 7
Sale just didn’t have an answer for Sheehan at times. The Leinster No.2 was a standout, combining excellent lineout throwing with dynamic play around the field. His energy and skill set were crucial for Leinster turning the tide against a determined Sale outfit.

3. Thomas Clarkson – 5
Despite all the backslapping from his teammates, Clarkson found it challenging at times at the setpiece. The rookie tighthead was solid in the loose but overshadowed in the tight exchanges by the more experienced Ross Harrison.

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4. Jason Jenkins – 5
Jenkins had a quiet game, managing basic duties but failing to provide the expected physical edge in the second row. With RG Snyman rumours floating about you’d have expected more.

5. James Ryan – 5
‘Co-captain’ Ryan was once again told by the referee that he would only speak to Rignrose, indicating officials aren’t a fan of Ryan’s communication style. Reliable elsewhere, where he managed the lineouts well but lacked his usual impact in loose play, one big second-half carry aside. Expect Leinster to shelve the co-captain malarky going forward.

6. Ryan Baird – 5.5
Baird was energetic but lacked precision and impact in key moments – most notably an early fumble near the Sale line, which was followed when he was held up over the line. It was never quite his night, even if he did score Leinster’s bonus point.

Leinster Sale Champions Cup match repoirt
Leinster’s Thomas Clarkson tussles with Sale’s Ross Harrison (Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

7. Josh van der Flier – 8
Van der Flier somehow managed to worm his way over the try line after nine minutes, with the referee bizarrely calling a Ryan Baird knock on a ball that clearly went backwards. Dominated at the breakdown and in defence, his work rate and tackling were top-notch. Scored just before halftime and then was pivotal in creating Jamison Gibson-Park’s try which pushed Leinster ahead for the first time in the game.

8. Caelan Doris – 5
Doris was another player who suffered from an apparent post-La Rochelle hangover. While he showed glimpses, particularly in defensive work, he just couldn’t quite play himself into the match.

REPLACEMENTS
16. Rónan Kelleher – 6
Kelleher added some energy but didn’t significantly change the dynamic of the game in his short time on the pitch.

17. Cian Healy – 7
Healy brought experience and a calm head. The grizzled prop was good value as he forced his way over for Leinster’s 5th try ten minutes from time.

18. Michael Ala’alatoa – 6
Ala’alatoa was about adequate overall, even if he didn’t really improve on Clarkson’s mixed bag at set-piece. Some nice touches with ball in hand though.

19. Joe McCarthy – 7.5
McCarthy showed his colossal potential in an extended cameo. Caused chaos with his counter-rucking.

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20. Jack Conan – 6
Conan made a positive impact, showing strong carries and solid defensive work.

21. Ben Murphy – NA
Not on long enough to rate.

22. Sam Prendergast – 7
Prendergast threw his hat back in the Leinster 10 debate here with a solid cameo off the bench on what was a Champions Cup debut.

23. Charlie Ngatai – 8
Ngatai was involved early on the second half and made a significant impact on Leinster’s attack, even if the Sharks were starting to flag. Brough a directness theretofore lacking. Sadly had to be carried off with what looked like a nasty knee injury.

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