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Player ratings: We mark the Leinster players out of 10

It came down to a TMO and an amazing rearguard action but the Blues held on to set up a final with Ulster.

Fergus McFadden celebrates with Rob Kearney.
Fergus McFadden celebrates with Rob Kearney.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

YOU CANNOT GET any closer than that but Leinster held firm to secure their finest semi-final win in the province’s history.

Clermont held sway in the first half after a good 15 minutes from Leinster but the second-half was dominated by stunning performances by Rob Kearney, Brian O’Driscoll and Brad Thorn.

Here are TheScore.ie‘s ratings for the Leinster players.

Rob Kearney – 8

Seven minutes of genius from Europe’s best full-back as he burst free to set up Healy’s try and landed an impressive drop goal. Only real blot was not passing to Fitzgerald on the left wing before Sexton made it 19-15.

Isa Nacewa – 7

A danger, as always, in attack and one fantastic break in the first half. Conceded two penalties and was chided at one point by O’Driscoll but he linked up well with Kearney all day.

Brian O’Driscoll – 8

Some great defensive tackles from O’Driscoll and he marshalled the backline well as Leinster upped the tempo in the second half. Some great offloads in the tackle.

Gordon D’Arcy – 8

All the pre-match talk was about the danger of Rougerie and Fofana but D’Arcy constantly shut them down. His only aberration was giving away a needless penalty for a stray leg but he, crucially, did enough to prevent Fofana’s late try effort.

Luke Fitzgerald – 6

A decent outing from Fitzgerald and he could have sealed the result if Kearney had found him in space on the left wing. Was left for dead by Sivivatu on a couple of occasions.

Jonathan Sexton – 8

Thankfully for Sexton his only miss of the day, and it was a narrow one, did not prove too costly. His defence was excellent but he failed to find touch with two penalties. Great tackle on Cudmore at the death.

Isaac Boss – 6

Was selected as a physical presence at the back of the scrum and put himself about a great deal. The Leinster pack creaked in the first half and did not provide a solid platform but Boss kept busy in the fringes.

Brian O’Driscoll rallies the troops. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)

Cian Healy – 7

A couple of loose shovel passes and an early struggle in the scrum. Super support run for the try as he backed up Kearney and he delivered a thundering blow that ended Malzieu’s afternoon. Subbed after 55 minutes.

Richardt Strauss – 7

Great in the loose and stole the ball fantastically twice at the breakdown. His line-out throwing was not so memorable as he overthrew one and failed to find Cullen on another.

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Mike Ross – 6

Ross was another Leinster forward that was better in open play than at the set-piece. Got on better than Healy at the scrum and really came into the match in the second-half. Some great carries in a 20-minute period of Leinster dominance midway through the half.

Leo Cullen – 7

Was lucky not to see yellow or red for striking out at Faure after getting frustrated. Was part of a forward pack that gradually made their stamp on the game and was throwing his body on the line at the death.

Brad Thorn – 8

A great outing from the New Zealander and a crucial steal in the second-half. Gave away a penalty in the first half as he came in from the side but was one of the main reasons why Leinster drove forward after the break.

Sean O’Brien – 7

He won’t win the European Player of the Year this year but rewarded his side with a place at Twickenham with a great steal at the end.

A positive burst after 70 minutes but he chipped on instead of retaining the ball.

Shane Jennings – 6

Jennings did exactly what was asked of him as he shared the number seven duties with McLaughlin. Conceded a first-half penalty but tackled gamely otherwise.

Jamie Heaslip – 7

No highlight reel breaks from the man from Kildare but he made a number of five and six yard gains that were crucial as Leinster battled back. Gave away a poor penalty with four minutes to go to set up the frantic finish.

Replacements

Heinke van der Merwe – 7

Really gave the scrum some solidity when he replaced Healy. Was a tiger in defence at the end as he prevented the Clermont drive to touch the ball off the padded posts.

Sean Cronin – 6

Just as the Leinster line-out was looking better, Cronin arrived and threw a crooked one. His contribution improved after that and he made three big hits.

Kevin McLaughlin – 6

Got sold a dummy by Julien Bonnaire in the closing stages but did much better in holding up the Clermont waves in the final four minutes.

Eoin Reddan – 7

Added a real impetus to his team’s play when he came on but blotted his copybook when he took the insane option to have a drop at goal that missed badly.

Fergus McFadden – 8

McFadden was excellent upon entering the field of play.

Forget about his great kicking displays in the PRO 12, his 18-minute cameo was the most valuable of his displays in blue this season.

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