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Dublin: 4°C Friday 5 March 2021

Player Ratings: Leinster v Exeter Chiefs

The Premiership side put up a real fight in the first half before the Blues’ European pedigree shone through.

Leinster's Fergus McFadden tackled by Jason Shoemark of Exeter.
Leinster's Fergus McFadden tackled by Jason Shoemark of Exeter.
Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

IT WAS ANYTHING but pretty at the RDS as the European champions got off to an extremely shaky start before winning 9-6.

Here are our player rating for the Leinster team. Do you agree?

Ian Madigan – 6 Was extremely lucky to get away with flicking a chipped through ball out of play as he raced back to the in-goal area. Missed an audacious drop goal attempt from the halfway line.

Andrew Conway – 5 Gave the ball away sloppily to back-row Baxter on 65 minutes to put his side in trouble. Never imposed himself on the game.

Brian O’Driscoll – 6 Made a couple of huge hits, bouncing off Naqelevuki in one instance before grappling the ankles. Knocked on late in the game when trying to connect with a Heaslip pop pass.

Fergus McFadden – 6 Strong in defence and was needed out wide late in the first-half as the Chiefs pressed. A decent shift from the inside centre who could retain his spot even if Gordon D’Arcy is fit for next week.

Isakeli Nacewa – 6 Big defensive hit on Arscott in the first half. Stirring charges at, and through, the Chiefs defence as Leinster tried to edge ahead.

Jonathan Sexton – 5 Missed a straight-forward penalty early in the piece but made amends shortly after. Missed another simple penalty chance on 50 minutes but looked threatening in open play.

Eoin Reddan – 5 Struggled to replicate his man-of-the-match display against Munster but the shaky pack in front of him did not help.

Cian Healy – 6 In his 100th game for the province, Healy battled hard against a determined front row. Did not make any of his patented marauding runs and was replaced with 30 minutes on the clock.

Richardt Strauss – 5 An early knock on did not hinder his willingness to take on the ball. Gave away a sloppy penalty but improved as the game progressed. Some wayward lineout throwing too.

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Richardt Strauss is collared by Simon Alcott. (©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

Mike Ross – 5 Showed up in the loose on a couple of occasions and nearly limped out of the game after up heave upfield.

Leo Cullen – 5 Was part of a Leinster pack that creaked on occasions and was uncomfortable at lineouts. Took a lot of ball in hand as Leinster tried to eek out a win.

Damien Browne – 4 In ahead of Toner and blotted his copybook by giving away two silly penalties in the first half.

Kevin McLaughlin – 6 Came to the fore in the second-half when the nitty-gritty was needed. Will be relieved to see the Mieres’ late penalty skew right and wide.

Shane Jennings – 6* Fierce tackling, as ever, from the Dubliner but was matched early on by an eager Chiefs back row. Instrumental in the winning of the 9-6 penalty.

James Heaslip – 5 Fine burst with 10 minutes to go and almost connected with a charging O’Driscoll. Was outshone by his opposite number, Baxter.


Sean Cronin (on for Strauss ’73) – 5 A late replacement for Leinster as they held on. One lineout throw that was claimed by Toner.

Heinke Van der Merwe (on for Healy ’52) – 6 Replaced Healy for the final half an hour and soon had staples in his forehead after conceding a penalty that made it 6-6. Brave grab of a loose ball late on.

Devin Toner (on for Browne ’52) – 5 Came on to win more lineout ball but did not make an immediate impact. Did well in the lead-up to the winning penalty.

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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