Leinster player ratings: James Lowe’s five try involvements and ‘sensational’ Jamison Gibson-Park sinks Champions Cup holders

Jared Wright
Leinster's James Lowe celebrates with Leinster's Jamie Osborne and Jamison Gibson-Park of Leinster makes a run with the ball during the Champions Cup match between Leinster and La Rochelle.

Leinster's James Lowe celebrates with Leinster's Jamie Osborne and Jamison Gibson-Park of Leinster makes a run with the ball during the Champions Cup match between Leinster and La Rochelle.

Following Leinster’s emphatic 40-13 victory over La Rochelle in the Investec Champions Cup quarter-final, here is how we rated Leo Cullen’s charges.

Leinster player ratings v La Rochelle

15 Ciaran Frawley: He was on the wrong end of some cluttering hits, but overall, it was a steady shift at full-back after being a late replacement for Hugo Keenan. He slipped into attack nicely. 6

14 Jordan Larmour: Like many of his teammates it was a well-rounded and combative performance from the outside back. Solid under the high ball and made the most of the opportunities he got on attack, gaining over 30 metres, and La Rochelle didn’t get an easy ride down his channel. 7

13 Robbie Henshaw: A brilliant kick try assist capped off yet another understated but superb performance from the veteran midfielder. Unsurprisingly, the rest of the backs shone against La Rochelle, with Henshaw doing the hard graft on both sides of the ball. 8

12 Jamie Osborne: One of his biggest tests as he went toe-to-toe with the French powerhouse Jonathan Danty but the 22-year-old rose to the occasion and produced yet another stellar performance. In all facets of the game, he made his mark, landing some excellent shots on defence, carried and linked up well with the ball in hand and had some great kicks. 8

11 James Lowe: The winger’s fine form continues as he was literally involved in every single Leinster try, scoring two and assisting three. His canon boot almost cost him on one occasion, but he was lucky that it was under his advantage. Outside of that, it was a breathtaking shift from the freakish wing. 9

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10 Ross Byrne: Racked up 15 points from the tee and dictated play wonderfully, seemingly taking the right option with every attacking play. He also kicked superbly off the tee and in open play with penalty kicks to touch. He collected the Player of the Match award as the conductor of Leinster’s dethroning of the back-to-back Champions Cup champions. 8

9 Jamison Gibson-Park: The hat-trick hero from last week added to his tally with a smartly taken first-half try, and he almost had another if it weren’t for an outstanding tackle from Gregory Alldritt. He is the heartbeat of this Leinster side and was simply sensational yet again, setting the pace of attack and hardly putting a foot wrong all game. 8

Planet Rugby player ratings key 10 - Career defining performance 9 - Outright blockbuster effort 8 - Significantly influenced the result of the game 7 - Committed and effective outing 6 - Flashes of brilliance outside of executing fundamentals 5 - Fulfilling the role required by position (base level) 4 - Poor execution of fundamentals 3 - Costly errors and/or discipline in the game 2 - Poor performance that directly impacted the result 1 - Grossly ineffective throughout 0 - Should have carried water instead

Planet Rugby’s player ratings key.

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Loose forwards

8 Caelan Doris: The skipper’s shift epitomised the performance of the entire starting pack as they got the better of La Rochelle up front by winning the gain line battle and outworked their opposition. Doris produced yet another stock standard class shift, making a boatload of tackles and carried strong, gaining over 23 metres through the heart of the La Rochelle defence. 7

7 Will Connors: His inclusion in the starting XV ahead of Josh van der Flier surprised many, but he did not disappoint. He was sharp defensively, but the real standout part of his performance was his breakdown work on both attack and defence. 6

6 Ryan Baird: An all-action display from the blindside flanker whose second-half try swung the moment back into Leinster’s favour, and they never let it go from there. His work-rate was relentless throughout the match on both sides of the ball, and he grabbed a few turnovers. 8

Tight five

5 Jason Jenkins: A tailor-made match for the heavyweight South African lock and while he was excellent in all collisions, be it in the tackle, carry or breakdown, his work-rate did see him concede three penalties. 6

4 Joe McCarthy: Another dynamite performance from the second-rower who threw his weight around well and was handy in the lineouts. While his hulking runs were effective, he also showed his softer skills with a brilliant offload to set up Gibson-Park’s try. 7

3 Tadhg Furlong: Leinster made it clear pre-match that they would be targeting La Rochelle’s front-row, and the veteran prop led the charging with a dominant scrummaging display against rookie Louis Penverne. Like his fellow tighties, he was busy in open play too. 8

2 Dan Sheehan: Near flawless lineout performance with La Rochelle nicking just one of his throws. He crossed the whitewash before making way for Ronan Kelleher after another tidy and effective performance. 8

1 Andrew Porter: Possibly lucky that he remained on the pitch after a suspicious high elbow into a carry. Regardless, he got the better of Uini Atonio in the scrums and was his usual busy self around the park and Leinster won the battle up front. 8

Replacements: Van der Flier was a notable performer off the bench along with Kelleher. There was a bit of a drop-off in intensity, and the scrum lost its dominance in the latter stages, but the game was dead and buried by then. 6

READ MORE: Harlequins win 83-point thriller at Bordeaux-Begles in history-making Champions Cup win