Leinster player ratings: ‘Magnificent’ Joe McCarthy continues to set the standards as Josh van der Flier excels

Colin Newboult
Josh van der Flier scoring a try for Leinster v Ulster in URC quarter-final 2024.

Josh van der Flier scoring a try for Leinster v Ulster in URC quarter-final 2024.

Following a dominant 43-20 triumph over Ulster in the United Rugby Championship quarter-final at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, here are the player ratings for Leinster.

15 Jimmy O’Brien: Has impressed since returning from injury and continued in that fashion in the quarter-finals. Reliable in the backfield and always a threat with the ball. 7

14 Jordan Larmour: An incredible nine defenders beaten as his footwork put the Ulster defence in a spin, but his defensive work was mixed. 7

13 Robbie Henshaw: In contrast to Larmour, Henshaw rarely gets it wrong defensively, and he once again led it well here. Also carried superbly into contact and was rewarded with a try. 8

Developing nicely

12 Jamie Osborne: A wonderful talent at inside centre whose playmaking skills unlocked Ulster’s rearguard. Beginning to show his class regularly. 8

11 James Lowe: Scored twice, with his second an utterly sublime finish. Quite simply one of the best wingers in Europe. 8

10 Ross Byrne: Kicked pretty well and marshalled the backline effectively, but they do need more from the fly-half. He is missing that top-end class, which is a worry for them heading into the latter stages of this competition. 6

9 Jamison Gibson-Park: Has become ultra-reliable for Leinster and Ireland. There are few better scrum-halves in the world at the moment. 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

8 Caelan Doris: Big game from a big man as the number eight carried hard throughout the 80 minutes, as well as being a nuisance at the breakdown. Could have had a yellow card for a cynical maul infringement on his own line, but Doris got away with it. 8

World Player of the Year performance

7 Josh van der Flier: An incredible 24 tackles made, while he also did just as much work with the ball. Relentless from the former World Rugby Player of the Year. 9

6 Ryan Baird: A good shift from the flanker who, like his back-row colleagues, was a continual presence in the match. 7

5 James Ryan (c): Returned to captain the side and led the team well. Some excellent moments but is still searching for his best. 7

Ulster player ratings: Powerhouse Ireland hopeful shines despite thrashing by Leinster

4 Joe McCarthy: Magnificent yet again and deservedly named the player of the match. Quickly developing into one of the best locks in the world. 9

3 Tadhg Furlong: The scrum wasn’t really a factor and he was quieter than his colleagues in the loose. Not been at his best for a while. 6

2 Dan Sheehan: One of those very odd days where the hooker was solid rather than spectacular. Didn’t make too much of an impression around the field but it didn’t matter this time with his team-mates stepping up. 6

1 Andrew Porter: Made 20 tackles, which is ridiculous for a prop. That engine also extended into the breakdown where he was incredibly annoying for the Ulster attack. 8

Replacements: Game was pretty much won when most of the bench came on but there were some classy touches from Sam Prendergast. Let’s be honest, he’s the future of Leinster at fly-half, and they need to start blooding him properly. 7

READ MORE: Ireland’s big guns shine as Leinster dominate Ulster to saunter into United Rugby Championship semi-finals