Rugby

Player Ratings As Leinster Lose Out In Titanic Clash With Supreme Saracens

Player Ratings As Leinster Lose Out In Titanic Clash With Supreme Saracens

The fast and the furious.

The continent's top two heavyweights collided in a contest for the pound-for-pound crown. Saracens triumph would always have to be extraordinary, it was always going to take a delicate balance between brain and brawn to pull this sword from the stone and become supreme ruler.

They went toe to toe and blow for blow, Leinster reigned a storm upon Saracens in the opening exchanges yet the English side remained calm in the chaos. By half-time they were level. When the dust settled it was two tries to one and Leinster's quest for back-to-back European titles was done.

Billy Vunipola and Sean Maitland made it sure, a sole Tadhg Furlong try wasn't enough. It finished 20 - 10.

leinster saracens

15. Rob Kearney - 8 

Shipped a big hit when he was lined up by Jamie George but it had no adverse effects. What a break! Quick footwork and an aggressive drive saw him race 30 yards deep and set up a move that should have ended in a try. Ultimately after four minutes of ferocious rugby, it did.

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Never took a step back even when clobbered in the air midway through the first half. A superb showing on what could be his last European appearance with Leinster.

14. Jordan Larmour - 7

Tried to vary the attack and chip throw early on but it was blocked down. Fantastic take while under huge pressure early in the first half. Needlessly shot out of the line and was caught out for Saracens try.

Starved of possession in the second half but never exposed defensively either.

13. Garry Ringrose - 6.5

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Stood in as first receiver in a bid to counter Saracens dual attack threat with Farrell-Goode. Squandered a good chance when he elected to carry up with an overlap out wide in Saracens '22.

12. Robbie Henshaw - 7

Big defensive effort as always, but wave after wave of Saracens onslaught proved too difficult to repel. Leinster defended well without ever dominating which you have to do to break this awesome outfit.

11. James Lowe - 6.5 

Great kick-chase to pressurize Liam Williams and bounced up to make an intercept off the very next play. A near-fatal slip saw the winger bypassed by Williams but Kearney covered across. Will be disappointed with his two missed tackles.

10. Johnny Sexton (captain) - 7

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Flawless from the tee. If ever there was a performance that demonstrated the toughness of the 33-year-old this was it. Took immense punishment yet never flinched, arguably should have been removed for his own safety.

9. Luke McGrath - 6

Some savage defending in the first half, particularly when he lined up a 20kg heavier Jamie George and stopped him dead. However, could have saved himself the hassle if he'd kicked to touch moments earlier. Really poor game management at a crucial moment. Another fatal error when he telegraphed a pass to be intercepted by Vunipola.

Did so much right but these are costly mistakes at this level.

1. Cian Healy - 8

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Found himself in the heart of a brutal battle at the breakdown. A barnstorming second half with huge carries and turnovers on either side of the ball. One of Leinster's most consistent players in Europe this season. Replaced by Jack McGrath at the hour mark.

2. Sean Cronin - 7

Worked hard to tackle man and ball. A defender who is not just content to make a hit but exerts himself at the ruck as well. 100% in the line-out while he was on, it immediately deteriorated when he went off. Replaced by Tracey after 50 minutes.

3. Tadhg Furlong - 6.5 

leinster player ratings

Unstoppable pick and drive off the back of a ruck to touch down for the opening try. Not as active as he would have liked in the loose, perhaps due to huge effort in the set-piece. Taken off with fifteen minutes remaining.

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4. Devin Toner - 6

Toner is a remarkable line-out operator yet at this level, he needs to contribute more. Of the four starting locks, he had the least carries and tackles by a considerable distance.

5. James Ryan - 8

One of the game's key matchups was Maro Itoje versus James Ryan. Itoje's ill-discipline combined with Ryan's relentless work ethic saw the Irish lock edged it. Huge carry in the second half but Saracens managed to make a massive steal two phases later. The most carries of any Leinster player with 22, the second most tackles. A brilliant campaign despite a disappointing end.

6. Scott Fardy - 6.5 

Not as influential today as he was in the semi-final. Missed a tackle on his inside which eventually led to a penalty and Saracens try. No impact attacking wise. Did force two good turnovers.

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7. Seán O’Brien - 7

There's a fine line between bravery and naivety, O'Brien's willingness to constantly offer himself as a first-up carrier often veers into both. A ridiculous determination to offer himself despite taking considerable punishment in doing so.

 8. Jack Conan - 8

Forced a big turnover with a huge hit midway through the first half. Insane work rate, particularly in the first half when he managed to rack up 14 tackles.

In the face of Europe's best number eight, he didn't look out of place.

Replacement: 6.5 

Jame Tracey did very well to hold up what looked a destined Saracens try but then missed his first line-out throw which proved costly. Jack McGrath came on for his final European showing in Leinster blue. Max Deegan and Rhys Ruddock did their best to stem a sweeping Saracens wave.

"We grew throughout the game," said Owen Farrell after the game. Eventually, they reached a height Leinster couldn't match. A sensational Saracens side assume the mantle of the best team in Europe.