Player Ratings: Leinster V Saracens

Saracens' Maro Itoje, George Kruis and Nick Isiekwe with Jack Conan of Leinster. Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

LEINSTER

Rob Kearney 8

Solid as ever defensively and under the high ball. Showed his attacking prowess with a magnificent break in the first-half to win Leinster field position which eventually resulted in a try. Didn’t put a foot wrong all game.

Jordan Larmour 6

Larmour was lively throughout and a constant threat whenever he got the ball in his hands. The problem was Leinster struggled to get the ball in his hands enough. Was caught out positionally a few times in the second-half

Garry Ringrose 5

Not his best game. Ignored a five on three overlap in the second-half which would probably have resulted in a try and struggled to make any headway headway in attack. Struggled physically in the second-half as the Saracens midfield punched holes in the Leinster defence.

Robbie Henshaw 7

Outstanding in the first forty minutes but was quieter after the interval.. Gave his side front forward ball and was excellent in defence. Also distributed well and won a couple of turnovers at the breakdown.

James Lowe 5

Quiet afternoon for the former Super Rugby star. Tried hard to get into the game but was well marshalled by the Saracens defence. Two poor missed tackles on Billy Vunipola and Jackson Wray conceded ground.

Johnny Sexton 6

Kicked five points but was second best to opposite number Owen Farrell. Controlled the game well but would have been disappointed with a couple of missed overlaps which cost his side dearly. Was as courageous as ever in defence.

Luke McGrath 6

A tide game by the scrum-half. Made a couple of decent half-breaks to keep the Saracens defence guessing. His box kicking was accurate as was his service.

Cian Healey 5

Dynamic as ever around the park as he constantly got over the gain-line in a first-half which Leinster dominated. However, he was given a torrid time in the scrums by experienced Springbok Vincent Koch and was replaced midway through the second-half.

Sean Cronin 7

Was passed fit at the last minute having recovered from a worrying calf injury. His usual dynamic self with the lively hooker punching holes in the Saracens defence. Hits his targets at the lineouts and solid in the scrums.

Tadhg Furlong 8

World class. Was excellent in the set-piece not giving up an inch at the scrums but was even better around the field. Quickly establishing himself as one of the finest players to have ever played in European rugby’s premier club competition.

Devin Toner 5

Leinster’s main source of lineout ball. Went through a lot of work as he always does but was second best to the Saracens pair of George Kruis and Will Skelton. Failed to impose himself physically and was bullied by the Saracens pack.

James Ryan 6

Excellent in the first-half as he negated Saracens’ driving lineout and carried strongly. Was the pick of the Leinster forwards in the second-half as he defended as if his life depended on it but was fighting a losing battle.

Scott Fardy – 5

Got through a large amount of work without catching the eye. Successfully slowed Saracens’ attacking ball down. Blotted his copybook when he was sent to the sin bin for coming into the ruck from an offside positon.

Sean O’Brien 5

Went through a lot of work throughout the game but lacks the explosiveness he used to have. Made a number of crucial tackles when Saracens were knocking on the door in the second-half. But failed to make much headway going forward.

Jack Conan 6

Always offered himself as a carrier and made more dents than most into Saracens’ defence. A real workhorse in defence and helped to slow Saracens’ ball down at the breakdown. However, was second best to Billy Vunipola.

LEINSTER REPLACEMENTS

Leinster’s replacements failed to make the impact Leo Cullen would have hoped. Props Michael Bent and Jack McGrath were under pressure in the scrums while Rhys Ruddock and James Tracy were disappointing.

SARACENS

Alex Goode 6

A quieter game than usual. The Saracens playmaker was well marked by the Leinster defence. However, England’s forgotten man was solid in defence and didn’t put a foot wrong.

Liam Williams 8

Pure X factor. Williams was a constant threat whenever he had the ball with the Wales international always beating the first man. Saved a likely try in the early stages of the second-half with a crucial steal at the breakdown.

Alex Lozowski 7

Provided a second playmaking option for Saracens which gave them a different dimension in attack. The England international also showcased his defensive qualities with some excellent reads to stifle Leinster’s attack on more than one occasion.

Brad Barritt 6

Led from the front. Always offered himself as a ball carrier and is the glue that holds this Saracens side together. But potentially cost his side an early try when he was penalised for leading with elbow just as Saracens were making headway.

Sean Maitland 7

The Scotland wing crossed for a crucial try on the stroke of half-time. Solid in defence and flawless under the high ball. Didn’t get many opportunities to showcase his attacking prowess but didn’t make any mistakes.

Owen Farrell 7

This wasn’t his flashiest game but the England and Lions general put his side in the right areas of the field. Kicked 10 points and like all good out-halves always took the right options. Defensively as good as most forwards.

Ben Spencer 7

Perhaps not the flashiest of scrum-halves but Spencer was as influential as his more decorated half-back partner. Crispy service while his box kicking was pin point accurate. His decision to go to the blindside was responsible for their first try.

Mako Vunipola 5

Started strongly with some ferocious carries and was a menace at the breakdown. But was replaced by Richard Barrington after a mere half an hour after picking up an injury.

Jamie George 8

Accurate in the lineouts. Has to be one of the most gifted hookers in the Northern Hemisphere with his dynamic ball carrying causing Leinster all manner of problems. Has developed into a top class leader providing the assurance his side needed when under pressure.

Titi Lamositele 5

His final was cut short as he limped off alongside Mako Vunipola after just 30 minutes of this pulsating cup final. Gave as good as he got during his time on the field winning a scrum penalty and making some inroads with his carrying game.

Will Skelton 7

Tackled everything that came his way in a frenetic first forty minutes. An excellent source of lineout ball. Was a colossus in the second-half with Leinster struggling to cope with his physicality as he constantly made yards.

George Kruis 8

A fine game by the England lock. Was Saracens’ main source of lineout ball and was a big factor in negating Leinster’s driving game. Carried strongly and had the better of opposite number James Ryan in what was a titanic struggle.

Maro Itoje 6

Worked hard but discipline left him down as he was sent to the sin bin for a cynical offence at the breakdown. One can’t help but feel the England man is far more effective in the second-row than he is at blindside.

Jackson Wray 6

The unsung hero of the Saracens pack. Tackled his heart out for large periods of the game and offered himself as a carrier when his side were on the front foot. One 40 metre break changed the momentum of the game.

Billy Vunipola 7

Quiet first-half but came alive after the break with a monumental performance. Leinster had no answer to the physicality of the England No 8. Destructive with and without the ball and scored the decisive try when he smashed his way past four Leinster defenders with ease.

SARACENS REPLACEMENTS:

The Saracens bench was ultimately the difference between the two sides. Richard Wigglesworth brought some extra tactical nous to proceedings. Props Richard Barrington and Vincent Koch were magnificent as they gave Leinster a torrid time in the scrums.

More on this topic

Contepomi: Balance must be right before Leinster can let it flow

Selfless Leinster flanker Fardy has become the model import

Cian Kelleher rejoins Leinster as 21 new contracts confirmed - but no update on Rob Kearney

Cian Healy signs new IRFU contract

More in this Section

Ben Thornley: ‘There are many things I loved about Roy Keane’

Double joy for UCC and manager Healy with defeat over Ringmahon

FIFA scraps plans for 48-team World Cup in Qatar

Even if England call, Luca Connell ready to bloom in green


Lifestyle

Weekend Food: Darina Allen introduces you to some of her favourite Sri Lankan dishes

More From The Irish Examiner