Leinster player ratings: Jamison-Gibson Park and James Lowe star as another Champions Cup final secured

David Skippers
Jamison Gibson Park Leinster v Northampton Saints Champions Cup SF 2024 - Alamy.jpg

Leinster scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park clears his line against Northampton Saints.

After a 20-17 victory over Northampton Saints in their Investec Champions Cup semi-final at Croke Park, here’s how the Leinster squad performed on Saturday.

Solid effort from the backs

15 Ciarán Frawley: The 26-year-old did what was expected of him at the back as he was safe under the high ball and brought some relief for his team with impressive kicks into touch. Also did his bit as a ball carrier and defensively before departing in the game’s dying moments with a leg injury. 7

14 Jordan Larmour: The experienced flyer did not get many attacking opportunities despite always looking for work. He was also responsible for Northampton‘s first try when he failed to gather a routine catch behind his try-line and George Hendy pounced. 6

13 Robbie Henshaw: The experienced Ireland centre caught the eye with a solid attacking performance as he tested Northampton’s defence with some powerful runs. He also put his body on the line defensively and made seven tackles. 7

12 Jamie Osborne: The young midfielder combined well with Henshaw and looked dangerous with ball in hand, especially in the first half when he made some telling carries. Finished with 58 metres gained from 11 runs and also impressed on defence and finished with nine hits made. 7

11 James Lowe: Showed why he is one of the world’s best players in his position by crossing for a hat-trick of tries and finished with 56 metres gained from nine runs. Lowe also shone in other areas with his support play and aerial work particularly impressive. 8

10 Ross Byrne: He missed some kicks at goal which nearly cost his team in the bigger scheme of things but his general play was solid as he received the ball on the front foot especially in the first half. Did well defensively where he made nine tackles. 7

9 Jamison Gibson-Park: Leinster‘s general showed his brilliance with excellent assists for Lowe’s first two tries and continued to test the Northampton defence as the match progressed. His game management was also superb and he controlled the tempo of the game excellently. 9

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.

Forwards lay a solid platform

8 Caelan Doris (c): The Leinster skipper led his troops well and caught the eye with a fine all-round performance. His work-rate was of a high standard throughout as he took the fight to Saints on attack and defence. Eventually gained 32 metres and finished with a team-high 12 tackles made. 8

7 Josh van der Flier: As expected the 2022 World Rugby Player of the Year was lively at the breakdown as he did well to slow down Saints’ ball. He also impressed on attack, gaining 22 metres, and on defence where made seven hits before being replaced by Jack Conan early in the second half. 7

6 Ryan Baird: The 24-year-old came to the fore with a superb all-round performance as he was a valuable source of possession at the lineouts, and kept Northampton’s defence on their toes with some strong carries. Finished with 43 metres gained and made six hits on defence. 8

5 Joe McCarthy: The young lock did what was expected of him in the lineouts and was a willing ball carrier as he took the fight to his opponents with some strong runs. Eventually gained 17 metres from 13 carries and also did well on defence where he made six tackles. 8

4 Ross Molony: Like his second-row partner, the 29-year-old impressed with his lineout and defensive work and made six hits before Jason Jenkins replaced him after 53 minutes. 7

3 Tadhg Furlong: The Ireland and British and Irish Lions stalwart can be happy with his efforts during a 60-minute stint. Furlong delivered an impressive scrummaging display, where he won some penalties for his team. 8

2 Dan Sheehan: Showed why he is his country’s first choice hooker with a solid display performance in the execution of his core duties. Was kept in check on attack but put in a solid defensive display before being replaced by Rónan Kelleher. 7

1 Andrew Porter: The 28-year-old was blown up for an indiscretion at the first scrum but improved in that department as the match progressed and eventually got the better of Trevor Davison in their direct battle at the set-piece. 7

Replacements: Although there were impressive performances from the likes of Jenkins and Kelleher – especially on defence – it was noticeable that the intensity levels dropped once the Irish province started to make their changes in the second half. It played its part in the Saints almost clinching a comeback win. 6

READ MORE: James Lowe hat-trick puts Leinster into third straight Champions Cup final as error-strewn Northampton bow out