Leinster 42-14 Ulster, Heineken Cup Final
How they rated
May 19, 2012
Brian O'Driscoll flips a ball inside ahead of Cian Healy's try © Getty Images
After seeing Leinster lift their third title in four years with a 42-14 win over Ulster at Twickenham on Saturday, ESPNscrum assesses how the players on both sides fared.
Rob Kearney: Claimed the first high ball of the match with utter authority and never looked back. Despite a recent back injury, he was a constant threat as he cut some terrific lines off Leinster's playmakers. 8/10
Fergus McFadden: Like Kearney, dealt with Ruan Pienaar's tactical kicking with aplomb early on and grew as an attacking threat throughout the match. 7
Brian O'Driscoll: Dogged at the breakdown and inspired in attack, typified by his super step and off-load which was crucial in setting up Leinster's second score. 9
Gordon D'Arcy: The Ireland centre has copped much criticism in recent years but his subtle distribution and precise running lines were again central in Leinster's flowing attack. 8
Isa Nacewa: Back out on the left wing, Nacewa was closed down quickly by the Ulster defence but made the most of the confined spaces to always make inroads. 7
Jonny Sexton: Wobbled early on with a wayward effort at goal, but quickly regained his composure and consummate best in landing five out of six kicks and pulling apart Ulster's defence. 9
Eoin Reddan: The scrum-half's accurate passing gave his backs that extra bit of time, with his long, flat passes off the back of the lineout allowing his runners to charge into the heart of the Ulster defence. 8
Jamie Heaslip: A solid, if not spectacular, performance from the Ireland No.8 who hit the rucks with brutish force and carried with malicious intent. 7
Sean O'Brien: Deservedly named man-of-the-match after a superb all-round performance in the Leinster back-row. 9
Kevin McLaughlin: Had a big challenge to match Stephen Ferris but delivered with a strong performance for Leinster. 8
Leo Cullen: Received a stern warning from Nigel Owens early on for lying on the wrong side of the ruck but that was typical of his dogged work in close quarters, which include a couple of crucial turnovers. 8
Brad Thorn: Another tireless effort from the New Zealander as he wrapped up a hat-trick of medals in the World Cup, the Heineken Cup and a Super Rugby. 8
Mike Ross: Played a key role in Leinster successfully neutralising Ulster expected scrum dominance.7
Richardt Strauss: Heavily involved in the loose for Leinster on top of a strong scrummaging performance. 7
Cian Healy: Took his try really well as he baraged over the line. Played a key role in Leinster's scrummaging supremacy. 8
Subs: Heinke Van der Merwe and Sean Cronin both came off the bench to score tries to wrap up a record victory
Stefan Terblanche: Played much of the game on the back foot as Leinster dominated for long periods and was rightly sinbinned for a dump tackle on Sean Cronin. 5/10.
Andrew Trimble: Arguably Ulster's most dangerous attacker in terms of pre-match form, but he had few opportunities to impress. 6
Darren Cave: Made a thrilling early break as Ulster looked to take the game to their opponents, but all to no avail. 7
Paddy Wallace: Broke through the gainline and created the break that made Ulster's second-half try and showed some classy touches in midfield. 7
Dan Tuohy's try will be scant consolation for Ulster © Getty Images
Craig Gilroy: His quick feet and wide sidestep ensured he had his moments in attack, and remains a player to watch for the future. 7
Paddy Jackson: Endured a testing first half and was never allowed to settle in the game, screwing a drop-goal effort wide from in front and misjudging a few kicks from hand. 5
Ruan Pienaar: Kicked 15 points for his team but was neutralised in attack by Leinster's defence. 7
Tom Court: Gave his best in the front-row exchanges, but was forced into the shadows by a dynamic Leinster trio. 6
Rory Best: Ulster's Ireland international hooker gave everything to resist the blue Leinster tide. 7
John Afoa: Returned from a four-week suspension and almost scored in the corner as Ulster battled hard early on. 6
Johann Muller: The Ulster captain was powerless to prevent a relentless Leinster performance. 6
Dan Tuohy: The second-row scored a consolation try for the Ulstermen. 7
Stephen Ferris: The Ireland No.6 made a terrific covering tackle to deny Nacewa a try in a tireless effort. 7
Chris Henry: Made a couple of early thrusts and made some classy offloads but his threat waned as Ulster were increasingly force onto the back foot. 6
Pedrie Wannenburg: Was part of a back-row trio that came second to their opponents. His knock-on after charging off the back of a scrum was one to regret. 6
Subs: Too little too late for Ulster.
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