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Player Ratings As Munster Bossed By European Champions

Player Ratings As Munster Bossed By European Champions
By Balls Team Updated
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Saracens arrived in Dublin as four points favourites but by full time in the Aviva, it was clear how big the gulf in class was between them and Munster. Rassie Erasmus's men fought doggedly but could not unpick the incredible Saracens defense and Saracens eventually turned the screw. The South African said before the game that 'you have to risk it to get the biscuit'. Munster did not risk it however and were ultimately flayed.

Our player ratings from a grim day at the Aviva are below.

A caveat here - it is nearly impossible to rate the Munster backs because they saw the ball so little today.

15 - Simon Zebo - 7

Munster's brightest light. Was like a winged creature under the box kick in the first half and had the Aviva faithful chanting his name. Didn't see the ball in the open field halfway enough.

14- Andrew Conway - 6

According to ESPN's stats, Conway had 0 metres made until the 68th minute, which is a remarkable stat for a winger. Despite being much shorter than Maitland, Conway was targeted repeatedly with the aerial ball, and he acquitted himself well.

13 - Jaco Taute - 6

First half tackle on Farrell deep in his own end was a personal highlight but faded out of the game before being subbed off.

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12 - Rory Scannell - 5.5

Quiet to the point of possibly-not-there. Munster only played only 2% off 12 in the first half, which said everything about their attacking strategy.

11- Keith Earls - 6

Did he touch the ball in Saracens territory once? Would have had a point to prove to Gatland today but hardly saw the ball in daylight.

10 - Tyler Bleyandaal - 4

Probably his worst game in a Munster shirt. Knock-on after tap tackle from Farrell ensured that Saracens went into the halftime break on top. His kicking from hand left Munster's smaller wingers with a lot to do and woeful kick from behind his own posts summed up a forgettable day with the boot. What was that drop goal about?

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9- Duncan Williams - 5

He played the game of his career against Toulouse but his limitations were exposed by the monstrous Sarries defence, who swarmed  on his static passes again and again. His box kicks to Billy Vunipola helped neutralise the 2017 Lions #8 but looked out of his depth today.

1 - Dave Kilcoyne

Came under huge pressure from the massive Saracens scrum in the first half. Gave away two penalties and his opposite number in the scrum Vincent Koch was named Man of the Match. Saracens turned the momentum with their brittle scrum and Kilcoyne was up against it today.

2 - Niall Scannell - 6

Scannell's first half darts were ropey enough even if Munster was 15 for 15 from the lineout. Was under huge pressure from Jamie George, who had 11 first half tackles on his own.

3 - John Ryan - 5.5

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Up against fearsome opposition in Mako Vunipola in the scrum. That stats might not show it but Munster were ultimately destroyed at the scrum today.

4 - Donnacha Ryan - 6

Flashed that trademark snarl throughout Munster's dominant first 10 minutes but Kruis and Itoje proved inscrutable opposition as the game wore on, however.

5 - Billy Holland - 6

Captained Munster admirably in the second half with O'Mahony off the pitch. Brilliant steal from Itoje in a second half lineout was one of Munster's only second half highlights.

6 - Peter O'Mahony - 7.5

POM was his usual immense self in the lineout. Munster collapsed with him off the field. Backed up Brent Pope's claim he should start the first Lions test.

7 - Tommy O'Donnell - 6

Covered 27 metres but had to fight for every one of them. His first half carries summed up the Munster first half performance: committed, couragoeus, but ultimately plodding.

8 - CJ Stander - 6.5

Stander always turns up for the big matches but his ball carrying threat was neutered by Saracens. His late try put a bit of glass on what was a decisive drubbing.

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Jaco Deysel (on for Tommy O'Donnell, 51")  -5.5

Had a great view for Kruis's butchering but showed little else.

Francis Saili (on for Taute, 56") - 6

Erasmus must have hoped he would bring an X factor off the bench when Munster craved an incisive runner but he didn't get the chance to run at Saracens, bar that 75th minute linebreak. Still Munster's leading carrier.

Dave O'Callaghan (on for O'Mahony) - 6

Left with massive shoes to fill when O'Mahony went off.

Darren Sweetnam (on for Earls) - 6

The bit of spark he showed at the 80 minute mark was enough to make you wonder what might have been. Saracens showed Munster no space today however.

Rhys Marshall (on for N. Scannell, 61)

Penalised in his first scrum off the bench, leading to three vital points from Saracens

Ian Keatley (on for Bleyandaal, 70) n/a

Came on when the game was done.

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