• Home
  • /
  • Rugby
  • /
  • The Player Ratings From A Sensational Leinster Victory Against Ulster

The Player Ratings From A Sensational Leinster Victory Against Ulster

The Player Ratings From A Sensational Leinster Victory Against Ulster
Maurice Brosnan
By Maurice Brosnan
Share this article

Not that it was in doubt, but the inter-pros have proved their worth this season. There have been several outstanding games over the last few weeks and the dominant narrative is certainly the strength of terrific Leinster. There is clearly exceptional work being done on the training ground as their in-game calls penetrated Ulster with alarming regularity. Leinster are in full juggernaut mode now and peeking at precisely the right time.

For all the joys of Leinster's dominance, Irish rugby needs to pay close attention to the plight at Ulster currently. Their fans are within their rights to air their grievances online as the team lacked energy and organization throughout. They still have not confirmed an out-half despite vigorous exploration of the Japanese league and the Munster victory seemed to paper over the cracks evident during the loss against Connacht. In Ulster's defense, the gap in class evident today isn't unique to them. Leinster are streets ahead of the majority of the league currently.


15. Charles Piutau - 5

Started brightly but a horrendous missed tackle for Leinster's second try. Gave Daly the outside but committed way too high when Ulster had their numbers matched up. Les Kiss demonstrated when he was involved with Ireland that he is an astute defensive coach and by in large the system looked sound. However, he cannot legislate for individual lapses within it. Pulled off after 55 minutes.

14. Andrew Trimble - 6

A leader in Ulster's defensive effort and fully committed but sometimes to his determent. The 33-year-old will need to step up and assist the back-line when they inevitably come under pressure next week.

13. Darren Cave - 5

Has not gotten a huge amount of game time so far this season. Will dread the video review as that attempted tackle on Andrew Porter is played on a loop. Missed two other tackles in a poor showing all around.

12. Stuart McCloskey - 6

Kept busy by the romping Henshaw barrelling down his channel but tackled well. Another victim of Ulster's lack of possession but had little variance in his running lines.  Made a big 11 tackles.


11. Jacob Stockdale - 6

Carried well with the little ball he had. Very unlucky not to land a huge interception when Leinster looked destined to score. Came inside to scourage for ball because of scarcity out wide. However, bought McFadden's step hook, line, and sinker and will be disappointed with his missed tackle. Followed it up with another poor attempt later on. Slight redemption in a try at the end.

10. Christian Lealiifano - 7

Shipped a big hit early but recovered to try spread the ball and ignite something. Cooney came on and did well but Ulster will need an out-half when Lealiifano leaves and it needs to be someone capable of carrying to the game line and creating the gaps for the likes of McCloskey to pour through. A huge recruitment awaits Ulster.

9. Johnny Stewart - 7

Did his best to keep the pillars honest and one clean break aside, they were. Had a perfectly structured defensive in front of him throughout and handled it well. In the context of this baptism of fire and a difficult first start, did great.


1. Callum Black - 6

Picked based on his scrum effort which was solid but also tackled well. A concern is his total lack of contribution as a ball carrier, Ulster needs to free their big men like Black and Henderson more if they are to punch any holes in these rush defenses.

2. Rory Best - 7

Constant endeavor. A damning stat for Ulster's front five, the player who made most meters was Best with a measly 10.

3. Rodney Ah You - 5

For a loosehead, didn't contribute enough in play and needs to be more destructive in his counter-maul. For all his early promise has never looked further from adding to his Irish caps.


4. Pete Browne - 5 

Anonymous. Never managed to get into the game and finished with 3 tackles and 4 runs. The game passed him by.

5. Iain Henderson - 6

Called line-out well but was slow to come into the game as a carrier, even when Ulster got on the ball.

6. Matty Rea - 5 

Ulster were dominated in pretty much every aspect of the game, but in particular in the back row. Never seemed as threatening or impactful as Leinster's three and failed to cover any line-breaks.


7. Sean Reidy - 6

Epitomised a lot of went wrong for Ulster. Received the ball out wide early on with a man beyond him but forced the pass and it went out of play.

8. Jean Deysel - 5

It is not an enviable task to be the man charged with carrying into Leinster's sea of blue. However, the idea that a straight charge down the middle with no variance in footwork or the line taken is foolhardy. Leinster proved prior to Christmas they are willing to embrace the collision and were unconcerned by one-off crash runners.

Replacements - 6 

Put in a horrible position in that they were being introduced as their side was 26 points down. Tommy Bowe came on and finished a try only to injure himself in the process. Cooney handled himself admirably in difficult circumstances.



15. Jordan Larmour - 10 

A human joystick. Incredible step for his first try. His attacking prowess is obvious but Larmour has other strings to his bow: He's superb in the air, successfully executed a 'jackal' during a dangerous Ulster break, and then there is his footwork. This could be an article solely dedicated to his footwork. Can step off either foot, has pace to burn and plays true 'heads up' rugby. Hard to ever award a ten, but even hard to pick holes in his performance today.

14. Fergus McFadden - 9 

McFadden is in the form of his life. Every week the 31-year-old has improved, it seems the competition for back-three places has lit a fire under the winger. Ran a superb line for the opening try, was committed in the tackle and delivered a sensational step to grab a try of his own early in the second-half.


13. Garry Ringrose - 8

His showing will be overshadowed due to the headline-grabbing performances by his counterparts but when Ulster did threaten led the defensive effort. A big 7 tackles while on the field, but concern over an ankle injury that forced him off after an hour.

12. Robbie Henshaw - 8

Becoming a monstrous option as a first-up ball carrier. The most runs out of any Leinster back with 14 and cruising along just perfectly in time for the Six Nations. It is feasible that the entire Irish back-line bar Conor Murray could be made of Leinster players come that tournament.

11. Barry Daly - 8

Another victim of the embarrassment of riches Leinster enjoy in their back-line but seized his opportunity well and looked dangerous with ball in hand.

10. Ross Byrne - 7

Did little wrong in his hour on the field and must be asking questions of Joe Schmidt. Sexton's deputy is up for grabs right now and Leinster has a more than capable candidate plying his trade.

9. Jamison Gibson-Park - 6

A little too eager early in the second-half and caught offside for a potential epic Larmour try. Other than that passed well without shinning. May become a victim of the need to register James Lowe come European Cup season and drop out of the squad.

1. Jack McGrath (captain) - 7

Surprisingly quiet going forward, but then again wasn't required there and instead invested in a gigantic defensive effort that saw him lead the front-five in tackles made.

2. James Tracy - N/A

Replaced mid-way through the first half due to injury. Not on long enough for a definite rating but line-out was accurate while he was on the field.

3. Tadhg Furlong - 6 

Worry over an arm injury that saw him down for several minutes early on. Taken off due for a HIA at half-time. Did not return.

4. Devin Toner - 7 

Manned the line-out expertly. The 31-year seems at home alongside Fardy in the Leinster engine room and continues to improve his contribution away from the set piece.

5. Scott Fardy - 8

For all that you can say about Leinster's mechanical production of youth talent, Scott Fardy was one hell of a signing on top of that. The man seems to genuinely appreciate the 'dirty work' a lock must be willing to undertake and does so with the enthusiasm and intensity that is at heart of this Leinster pack. Leo Cullen was a brilliant leader because of the example he set as much as his vocal ability and there is a similar streak in Fardy.

6. Josh Murphy - 8

There may come a stage soon where Leinster go to another level of piss-taking brilliance with the use of their immense production line and line out an entire 15 of back row players. Murphy made the most tackles of anyone on the field at the time of final whistle stats with 18. Even more incredible, the 21-year-old didn't miss one. Where do they grow them from?

7. Jordi Murphy - 7

The Ulster-bound back row showed his future team-mates what he can do and will hope a prolonged run of game time up north will assist his chances to get back in Irish reckoning. That is no mean feat with the standard of flanker currently within the country.

8. Jack Conan - 8

Laid an early marker with a thundering hit on Lealiifano. Interestingly, Leinster deployed Conan on the wing off one off phases. His defensive ability is obvious but Conan also has quick feet and good hands which make him a valuable asset offensively.

Replacements - 9 

Andrew Porter and Sean Cronin had magnificent impacts off the bench. Sexton came on, speed the ball up and grabbed a try for his efforts.

Leinster are currently setting the template for club rugby in terms of game plan, coaching, academy setups and in-game management. Ulster need to go back to the drawing board before a crucial clash with La Rochelle next week.

SEE ALSO: Watch: Andrew Porter Steamrolls Ulster's Darren Cave To Set Up Fergus McFadden Try



Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are now subscribed!

Share this article

Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com