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Leinster player ratings vs Ulster | 2023/24 URC quarter-finals

By Ian Cameron
Jamie Osborne of Leinster is tackled by John Cooney of Ulster during the United Rugby Championship quarter-final match between Leinster and Ulster at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster player ratings: Judging by this performance, you would have thought Ulster were the side that had been beaten twice this season and not Leinster.

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In truth it was a fairly mediocre performance for much of the eighty minutes from Leo Cullen’s men, but they were saved by Ulster’s near-total incompetency, which meant it was like pushing at an open door.

15. Jimmy O’Brien – 4
A seemingly endless string of errors under the high ball and was caught napping with his clearance kicking by Stuart McCloskey in the 18th minute. Found out of position on occasion too. An afternoon to forget.

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14. Jordan Larmour – 6
Larmour tends towards two types of games. One in which he scores multiple tries and terrorises defences, and ones where he has a tendency to fade into the background. This was more the latter –  for the first 60 minutes at least. Made plenty of carries but it was mostly for loose change. Killed off Ulster with a well-taken run in 20 minutes from the end.

13. Robbie Henshaw – 6.5
Among a number of blue jerseys that looked a bit distracted in the first 15 minutes before taking Leinster’s opening try against the run of play. Managed to keep Ulster’s centres quiet, though he didn’t have too many chances in attack. Some nice touches as Ulster’s defence disintegrated late on.

12. Jamie Osborne – 7.5
Maybe Osborne’s best outing for Leinster to date, even if he very nearly botched Leinster’s opening try after effectively creating it from a well-taken overlap. Picks lovely running lines and has plenty of time on the ball.

11. James Lowe – 8
After a quiet opening quarter, he took his chance when it came in the 33rd minute, barging his way over two defenders on the way to the line. Controlled the ball really well with his feet for his second.

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10. Ross Byrne – 6
A performance that will hardly assuage his critics. Pedestrian when bringing the ball to the line and his kicking out of hand was below standard at times. Kicked well from the tee.

9. Jamison Gibson-Park – 6
An uncharacteristically workaday performance from JGP, one of a number of Leinster players who didn’t get off the bus. Admittedly improved as the game wore on and there was the odd sprinkle of stardust.

1. Andrew Porter – 7
Got into trainee Ireland tighthead O’Toole at scrum time and didn’t let up. Solid in the loose but nothing spectacular.

2. Dan Sheehan – 6
Is Sheehan having a little bit of a late-season lull? Another passable effort but nothing in comparison to his form in a green jersey over the last nine months.

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3. Tadhg Furlong – 7
Furlong was effective in the set-piece and handy in the loose, often acting as an unlikely distributor in the midfield. He was one of the forwards who consistently made ground, even against Ulster forwards’ defensive efforts.

4. Joe McCarthy – 7.5
A meaty, bullocking performance from McCarthy. He may have lacked the athleticism of the two rookie Ulster locks in front of him but he didn’t lack the heft in contact.

5. James Ryan – 7.5
A point to prove here? Put himself about gamely and was a real nuisance for Ulster to deal in all facets of play, stuffing two potential Ulster tries in the space of four minutes in the first half.

6. Ryan Baird – 6
A competent outing from Baird. However, he failed to shine and make the dynamic impact that he is capable of.

7. Josh van der Flier – 7.5
Van der Flier was Leinster’s standout forward. His work rate was tireless and he was a constant thorn in Ulster’s side at the breakdown. Never seems to give less than 100 per cent.

8. Caelan Doris – 7
A robust performance from the No.8, who made numerous powerful carries and contributed on the other side of the ball too. Was one of the few forwards who consistently gained ground against Ulster’s defence.

REPLACEMENTS:

16. Rónan Kelleher – 5
Kelleher added fresh legs and maintained the set-piece standards when he came on but didn’t have a major impact on the game.

17. Cian Healy – 6
Healy brought experience off the bench and was solid in the scrum but had limited opportunities to influence the match.

18. Michael Ala’alatoa – 6
Has his critics but Ala’alatoa performed his duties well here, particularly in the scrum.

19. Ross Molony – 7
Reaching the end of his Leinster career, Molony helped close out the game with a well-taken try which came after he lost a lineout.

20. Max Deegan – 6
Deegan put in a few strong carries and worked hard defensively.

21. Luke McGrath – 7
McGrath provided quick service and tried to inject pace into the game.

22. Sam Prendergast – 7
A classy but all-too-short cameo from the rookie standoff. His cheeky chip to Deegan was sublime but again, one would have liked to see more of him here with the result pretty much in the can. He needs game time.

23. Ciarán Frawley – 6
Frawley was solid when he came on and there was nothing he could have done about Michael Lowry’s try as he had the angle.

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Comments

2 Comments
B
Bryan 17 days ago

A bit harsh on some players methinks

R
Rob 17 days ago

You’d swear they only scraped it

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M
Mzilikazi 2 hours ago
Is Ireland versus South Africa a battle for the title of ‘world champions’?

Very good article, Nic, and I find agreement with what you write virtually 100%. I think this two mach series has increasingly become one which will be very difficult for Ireland to win. After the first game of the last 6N, I would have been very full of confidence taking on the Boks in SA. France beaten by a big margin in France, it looked as if Ireland had emerged in fine form from the World Cup, despite the very narrow loss to the AB’s. But after that game, a slide began, ending with the defeat to England. Ireland were very fortunate to win this years 6N ! And as you so fully expose, this has not been a good season for Leinster, or indeed, in my view, for any Irish province. The Leinster loos to the Bulls, and then Munster letting a glorious chance slip to the Glasgow Warriors down at Thomond. Man, that one will really hurt. And both Connacht and Ulster have at times looked very poor this seaso, bith heavily beaten on occassion. The loss of both Gibson Park and Keenan are huge blows, especially Gibson Park. And there is really only one clear class 10 in the touring party, Jack Crowley, and he is still a very young player learning his trade. If he goes down, heaven help Ireland. And in my view, Ireland do not have a good scrummaging front row, SA do, and in great depth too. But despite all this doom and gloom, I always believe my team can win. Not that they will win, just can ! Ireland will still field what is the best and most talented team overall that I have seen in my lifetime. But the coaching group will really have to step up, no awful decisions like the one made against the AB’s in the QF….keeping the totally spent and poorly performing(on the day) Sexton on for the full 80mins, leaving Crowley on the sidelines. Ireland should never have lost that game !

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S
Shaylen 4 hours ago
Is Ireland versus South Africa a battle for the title of ‘world champions’?

Ireland have all the tools required to hurt SA. They develop quick ball, hold onto the ball for long periods, stretch the game when its on, have powerful mobile forwards, a good kicking game and they can hold their own in the scrum. They also can force turnovers regularly and in general do well at the breakdown. When Munster, the Ospreys and Glasgow all won games in SA this year against the Bulls and Stormers they did just that and won. It is also the reason why Ireland won the game at the world cup last year. The problem for Ireland is that SA have all the tools required to hurt them as well and hurt them a great deal more than England did in the Six Nations. They are physical and powerful at the set piece, they rush up and counter the Irish attacking system and they can really attack the breakdown and slow your ball down. Their counterattacking threat is also a big weapon and they score many tries from turnover turning defence into offence in a second. Toulouse and the Bulls nailed Leinster in this way and Glasgow did the same thing to Munster. So the series will be really interesting because both sides are so good at countering each other. Interested to see what kind of surprises Tony Brown springs and how the SA game develops. Feel like SA have more potential to surprise Ireland but then a new coaching set up as well as the fact that Japanese and foreign based players tend to take about 5 to 6 weeks to get up to speed might work in Irelands favour. SA have shipped at least one game in 4 of the last 5 June/July test windows going back to 2018 for this exact reason.

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