Munster player ratings: Jack Crowley steers underdogs to victory over Leinster to claim URC final spot

·5-min read
Jack Crowley for Munster Credit: Alamy
Jack Crowley for Munster Credit: Alamy

Following their 16-15 United Rugby Championship (URC) semi-final victory over Leinster, here is how we rated the Munster players. 

15 Mike Haley: He was lucky that Ryan Baird’s stunner was scratched off after the lock rounded him, but that shouldn’t detract from the other vital interventions the full-back made. Haley denied Leinster with a brilliant tackle during the first half and did it again when he sprinted back to make it an incredibly difficult finish for Tommy O’Brien. He had some great touches with the ball in hand, too, gaining over 60 metres. So many great moments from the full-back who regularly got his side out of trouble. 8

14 Keith Earls: The odd error or two, but it was another standard Earls performance as he defended well, chased kicks superbly and got involved in any way he could. 6

Crowley seals the win

13 Antoine Frisch: The in-form centre had the arduous task of facing Robbie Henshaw this week, and defensively, he didn’t give an inch. It was a tight battle between the two. Frisch has been a game-breaker for Munster in recent encounters, and while he had moments when he threatened to do so, Leinster’s defence remained resolute. 8

12 Jack Crowley: In the early knockings of the game, Crowley linked up well with Ben Healy before the starting fly-half was forced off the pitch, meaning he moved back into the fly-half role. He made the odd bad pass and could have done better with his tackle on Jason Jenkins. However, he marshalled Munster’s attack well through multiple phases as they attempted to bust the excellent Leinster defence. When they didn’t break through, he dropped into the pocket and slotted the match-winning drop goal and picked up the man of the match award. 9

11 Shane Daly: A workaholic performance from the winger who got his hands on the ball more than 20 times during the match. He linked up well on attack and threatened with his pace, and when he was caught, he freed up the arms to make the offload. Defensively, he was sound and made an excellent tackle before half-time to stop a threatening Leinster attack. 8

10 Ben Healy: He was controlling Munster’s attack superbly and mixed his approach on attack well before a nasty gash on his head ended his game along with a failed HIA. 6

Industrious displays

9 Craig Casey: The nuggety scrum-half raced around the pitch frantically on either side of the ball. He made a few good tackles and tried to spark the attack with a few snipes and remarkably accurate and swift passes. On the whole, he made good decisions. Despite the pace of the game, Casey did not waiver and produced a brilliant pass to Crowley to score the winning points. 8

8 Gavin Coombes: He did make a few errors, but that’s understandable, considering the sheer amount of work he got through. Coombes thundered into tackles, won a turnover, was dynamite with ball in hand and was a real handful in a brave and titanic performance. 8

7 John Hodnett: The 24-year-old really rose to the task with a magnificent shift. He was a handful with ball in hand and powered through tackles, and his fend was brutal. Defensively, he was resolute and slammed into more tackles than any other Munster player. He was given the responsibility of starting as Tadhg Beirne moved to the second-row, and he made the most of it. 8


6 Peter O’Mahony: A strong game from the Munster captain, without being brilliant. It was a trademark shift in many ways as he impressed at the lineout, on attack and defence. He made his tackles, pressured the breakdown and made a few good carries. 6

5 Tadhg Beirne: It hasn’t taken long for the Irish international to return to top form following his spell on the sidelines, and he was right in the thick of it all for 71 minutes. He came up with crucial turnovers ripping the ball off a Leinster player before the break and drove over the line brilliantly after half-time. In an outstanding passage of play, he claimed a turnover near his line, and when Munster didn’t find touch, he came up with an intercept. A super game from the forward. 8

4 Jean Kleyn: One of the form locks in the URC this season, and he showed it in the first half. He gets through the donkey work that often goes unnoticed, and unfortunately, his game was ended shortly after half-time. 6

Solid front-row

3 Stephen Archer: As he has in recent matches, Archer held his own in the scrums, and it was undoubtedly weaker when he left the pitch. He was sound in all facets during his 51-minute shift. 6

2 Diarmuid Barron: Shook off any injury concerns with a solid performance where he ticked all the boxes making his tackles, carrying strongly and finding his jumper at the lineout. 6

1 Jeremy Loughman: Much like his fellow front-rowers, it was very much doing his job and doing it well for Loughman. 6

Replacements: In a dogfight of a match, the Munster bench proved to be all the difference, especially with all the injuries they had before the game and during it. Special mentions for Rory Scannell and Alex Kendellen, who were sublime. 8

READ MORE: United Rugby Championship: Munster seal famous win over Leinster as trip to Stormers awaits

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