Leinster player ratings: Record-breaking Dan Sheehan shines in narrow loss to La Rochelle

·5-min read
Leinster celebrate Dan Sheehan try Credit: Alamy
Leinster celebrate Dan Sheehan try Credit: Alamy

Following their 27-26 defeat to La Rochelle in the Champions Cup final at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, here’s our player ratings for Leinster.

15 Hugo Keenan: Like the rest of his team, Keenan started brightly as he got over the gainline with a crucial carry that led to Jimmy O’Brien’s try. However, he struggled to remain a threat thereafter as defence was the order of the day for most of the Leinster side. 6

14 Jimmy O’Brien: A well-taken try on seven minutes as he finished smartly in the right-hand corner. But that was as much as we saw of the Ireland wing as La Rochelle turned the screw. 5

Midfield came off second best

13 Garry Ringrose: Won’t have enjoyed being bumped off by Jonathan Danty as the Frenchman powered his way over the whitewash on 19 minutes. The silky and elusive international simply could not find his mojo against a dominant pairing opposite him. 5

12 Robbie Henshaw: Won a key turnover on halfway on the hour mark which was the tip of the iceberg of his defensive work today. Unfortunately there was little attacking success to report before he left the field injured on the hour mark. 6

11 James Lowe: His incredible 50:22 on four minutes was the stuff of legend as he kept La Rochelle pinned in their own 22 early on. However, he didn’t get into the game at all with ball in hand and then undid that earlier touch-finder with a kick out on the full that piled the pressure on his own side. Made the best of what little ball he saw. 5

10 Ross Byrne: Enjoyed a decent first half as it was his pass that sent O’Brien over on the right wing. Off the tee he nailed his team’s first conversion but hit the post with next two from wide out. Recovered with a couple of penalties before the break and gave a decent account of himself in other departments. 6

9 Jamison Gibson-Park: Great option taking from the Ireland scrum-half early on, especially for O’Brien’s try and Dan Sheehan’s second score. His promptness and awareness at the base was outstanding. Didn’t have the same front-foot ball in the second half, and a box kick out on the full on 48 minutes knocked his mark down. 7

Conan shot out of the blocks

8 Jack Conan: Shot out of the blocks in the early stages as he had a big hand in setting up Sheehan’s first try after that smart lineout move. From the restart, he then carried strongly to rock La Rochelle backwards in a statement drive. Finished as his team’s top metre maker and made 12 tackles in a workmanlike effort. 8

7 Josh van der Flier: Was a nuisance defensively as he got through a heap of work that, if not for his red scrum hat, might have gone unseen. Regularly disrupted La Rochelle in close quarters, but unfortunately for Leinster, didn’t have the same impact in possession. 7

6 Caelan Doris: Part of a Leinster back-row that did a lot more defending than attacking for a large part of Saturday. Featured more prominently with ball in hand once he switched to number eight in the final quarter, but otherwise a quieter-than-normal shift from the Ireland star. 7

5 James Ryan: Hugely physical early on in defence as he came out on top in several collisions with the hulking La Rochelle pack. He also disrupted La Rochelle’s attacking lineout with a steal at maul time, and it was unfortunate for Leinster that he failed his HIA and had to depart as they missed the excellent lock. 7

4 Ross Molony: An 80-minute shift from Molony due to Ryan’s departure in the first half. Couldn’t make headway over the La Rochelle gainline with his two carries but was busy defensively, ending on 15 tackles but would also miss two. 6

3 Tadhg Furlong: An incredibly tough game for the big men to keep pace with, especially with a calf issue, but Furlong never shirked his duties. Swept up a loose ball at back of the lineout that led to Sheehan’s second try and fared well against Reda Wardi at scrum time. 7

Incredible showing from Sheehan

2 Dan Sheehan: The bold call at the first set-piece paid dividends when Sheehan crossed on 41 seconds. He grabbed a second try in the first half after lurking on the touchline and was busy elsewhere. He is a player who has everything in his locker, with his monster hit on Levani Botia showing his defensive might before he pounced at a breakdown. Unlucky to finish on the losing side. 9

1 Andrew Porter: Under pressure at scrum time early on and was penalised at a scrum five metres from his own line. Improved in that department, though as the game wore on and got through the full 80 minutes in an admirable shift that saw him make nine tackles. 6

Replacements: Michael Ala’alatoa won a scrum penalty immediately after coming on, but his evening was ended after he saw red for a dangerous clearout late on. Ronan Kelleher was earlier sin-binned for repeated team infringements on his own line as the bench couldn’t give Leinster the injection of quality they needed. 4

READ MORE: La Rochelle player ratings: Antoine Hastoy and Gregory Alldritt star in Champions Cup title defence

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