Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - RUGBY -


It goes with­out say­ing that the Louth man is a big-game player. He was a source of calm when the ball came his way. More than that, there was to­tal com­mit­ment to the high ball which caused Rac­ing prob­lems.

÷SEAN CRONIN 7 The li­ne­out went well, by and large, and he got around the pitch in typ­i­cally en­er­getic fash­ion. This wasn’t a day for those bar­relling charges in the open, but he came more into the game as it broke up.

÷JOR­DAN LAR­MOUR 7 He first kicked when he could have run in what ap­peared to be a tac­tic. He set­tled down with one of those fizzing bursts in amongst the big men and ham­mered Louis Dupi­chot, but never re­ally got an open­ing.


The tight-head was never un­der con­sid­er­able pres­sure at the scrum. Rac­ing knew bet­ter than to come down his chan­nel, which re­moved his op­por­tu­ni­ties to land the big hits. Couldn’t get on the ball of­ten enough.

÷GARRY RIN­GROSE The early high tackle on Vir­imi Vakatawa was an un­char­ac­ter­is­tic er­ror against a big­ger man. He didn’t get ruf­fled and grew into his role in de­fence, mak­ing a fan­tas­tic late to draw a penalty.

÷DEVIN TONER Un­fairly fin­gered for a li­ne­out penalty on Don­nacha Ryan. He trucked the ball up will­ingly and ham­mered out a big hit on Henry Cha­vancy when Rac­ing threat­ened. More than ad­e­quate about the pitch.


An early mis­read al­lowed Rac­ing to eat up the ground. He took two ac­ci­den­tal high blows to the head, had his knee heav­ily strapped, and limped off at half-time. Just took those set­backs and kept on com­ing hard.


The best in blue. There were a num­ber of early in­ter­ven­tions that kept Le­in­ster tick­ing over while they were un­der the pump. He was a pri­mary li­ne­out op­tion and made the gain­line most times.


The cap­tain al­most cracked Rac­ing open from a light­ning raid down the left. The tac­tic to kick ahead did not al­ways work out, but he stepped up to kick the lev­eller and the win­ner in his last Euro­pean Cup match.

÷SCOTT FARDY Le­in­ster used the Wal­laby in close and fur­ther out for his handy work. A penalty for a neck roll was costly to mo­men­tum, although he was clearly frus­trated at ref­eree Wayne Barnes’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the ruck.

÷JONATHAN SEX­TON 7 The down­pour placed an even greater em­pha­sis on con­trol. He stood firm to earn a penalty turnover and al­most cre­ated a try for Nacewa ahead of kick­ing three from five. A pin­point flat pass put Rin­grose through late on.

÷JORDI MURPHY There was pre­cious lit­tle pos­ses­sion with which to use his fine lines of run­ning in the early go­ing. He just stuck to the script, re­cov­er­ing the first high ball on the restart, and bat­tled away gamely.

÷LUKE McGRATH 7 The an­kle and strapped right knee did not pre­vent the scrum-half from com­plet­ing the ba­sics and cover­ing clear­ance kicks. Showed lead­er­ship and tested the fab­ric of Rac­ing’s de­fence the fringes.


The bru­tal phys­i­cal­ity was right up his al­ley and the flanker never shirked the re­spon­si­bil­ity to of­fer up his body. The spill of blood was par for the course. A big turnover at the ruck in the 69th minute was cru­cial.


The trenches were a dark and dirty place to be. The loose-head was a rock at the scrum and gave as good as he got ev­ery­where else. He had just cranked out his best carry when re­placed on 55 min­utes.

÷COACH: LEO CULLEN 10 The best de­ci­sion the coach made was to turn to Stuart Lan­caster in a self­less act which led to some cham­pagne rugby. But, in the end, it took the kind of grit Cullen spe­cialised in as a player.

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