It was your classic game of two halves in Lyon as a dogged Leinster lost to Clermont in sun-kissed Lyon this afternoon. They gifted Clermont a 15 point lead only to scrape their way back into the game before ultimately falling short 27-22 in an enthralling encounter.
Clermont have been knocking on the door for so long in pursuit of their European dream. For Leinster, this occasion can only stand to the likes of Carbery, Conan, Leavy and Ringrose.
The Balls.ie player ratings are below.
15 - Joey Carbery - 6.5
Carbery was Leinster's most dangerous runner with ball in hand but his defense was found lacking with Nacewa in the bin and Clermont seemed to target his rawness.
14 - Fergus McFadden - 5.5
It was hard to watch the first half without thinking McFadden was not good enough for this level.
13 - Garry Ringrose - 7.5
Nervy start but played an integral part of the Leinster resurgence. Try of absolute genius. The dummy!
Ringrose and Henshaw have serious Darcy and Drico potential
— Aisling Fagan (@aislingfagan_) April 23, 2017
12 - Robbie Henshaw - 8
Ahead of the game, Will Greenwood flagged Henshaw's battle with fellow #12 Bernard Lamerat as decisive. It was see-saw but Henshaw came out on top. Sterling defensively as usual. Brilliant chase down on Lamerat to save a try in the 60th minute kept Leinster dreaming. Added 90 metres carried.
Savage effort from a young Leinster side. Cracking match. Carberry, Henshaw, Ringrose, props and backrow: the future is blue #CLEvLEI
— Phil O'Kelly (@PhillyOKelly) April 23, 2017
11 - Isa Nacewa - 6
No way he's sinbinned in the Aviva but the 8 points Leinster conceded without him were vital. Was much more effective in the second half.
10 - Johnny Sexton - 7
Slotted every kick and had his fingerprints all over the disallowed Leinster kick. Lopez won the battle of the outhalves however with the two wonderful drop goals.
9 - Luke McGrath - 6.5
Was up against it as Clermont's #9 Morgan Parra was everywhere. Saved a certain try when Yato marauded down the touchline with a great tackle. Even played a vital role holding up Sexton's kicks. One who'll learn from the occassion
1 - Jack McGrath - 7
Strong game for the Leinster prop. Won a huge penalty in the 11th minute for a massive tackle on Fritz Lee, when Leinster faced outright decimation.
2 - Richardt Strauss - 5.5
The Leinster lineout was absolutely dire in the first half, with Clermont's second try coming directly off a Strauss overthrow.
3 - Tadhg Furlong - 6.5
First scrum of the game came after 28 minutes, so we didn't get to see Furlong at his best. Ten big tackles made.
4 - Devin Toner - 5.5
Difficult game for Big Dev. Given a free helicopter ride and seemed to be moving in slow motion at times.
Devin Toner is too tall for himself. #CLEvLEI
— Surrca™ (@SarahDoherty_26) April 23, 2017
5 - Hayden Triggs - 6
Failed to make a big impact. Did however win a big penalty at the start of the second half as Leinster launched their revival.
6 - Rhys Ruddock - 7
Put in a massive shift and was everywhere as Leinster blasted their way into the second half.
Brilliant pass off the floor by Rhys Ruddock. He’s having a huge game.
— Cian Tracey (@CianTracey1) April 23, 2017
Ruddock having a monster!! Clermont must be getting close to yellow territory..hug tackle didn't look very similar to parra one either☝🏼
— luke fitzgerald (@lukefitz11) April 23, 2017
Ruddock has been absolutely savage all game. Wrecking ball & has serious ball skills!!
— Anthony Moyles (@moylesiea) April 23, 2017
7 - Dan Leavy - 6
Proved to be one of defining characters of this game. Should have had a decisive try in the 54th minute but cost his team a try with his own dumb penalty. Leavy's had a brilliant season but this match was a tall order for him. He was also caught out badly on the second Leinster try. Tackled 13 times.
8 - Jack Conan - 6.5
The perception before the game was Leinster would badly miss its backrow big guns today in Heaslip and O'Brien. Perhaps their experience was missed in the first half but these games will stand to the likes of Conan and Leavy.
Jack Conan's having a good game. Probably Leinster's best player so far.
— BallHandling Hooker (@BHHooker) April 23, 2017
— Shane Byrne (@shanebyrneoffic) April 23, 2017
Zane Kirchner (on for McFadden 70") - 5
Ran straight into touch when Leinster needed a spark. Slammed by Stuart Barnes for 'really poor play'