How the Munster players rated against Toulouse

Steven Miller

Reporter:

Steven Miller

5 April 2014; James Coughlan, Munster, celebrates after the game. Heineken Cup Quarter-Final, Munster v Toulouse. Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Steven Miller rates the Munster players after Saturday’s Heineken Cup quarter-final win over Toulouse.

Steven Miller rates the Munster players after Saturday’s Heineken Cup quarter-final win over Toulouse.

Felix Jones 7

Jones wasn’t tested massively but what he had to do he did well. Put in one massive hit towards the end of the first half and was always looking for work. Lucky to get a way a spilled ball close to the Munster line in the second half but he can be happy with his day’s work

Keith Earls 8

Set the ball rolling for Munster with his early try and continued to be heavily involved throughout. Did very well with his kick ahead for Munster’s third try and almost got over for his second a short while later. Received a massive ovation from the crowd when replaced by Gerhard van den Heever late on. Great to see him back

Casey Laulala 7

He leaves Munster at the end of this season so this was his last big game in Thomond. Took his try well and always looking to make ground. One of Munster’s most effective carriers, her also played his part in keeping Toulouse’s centres quiet

James Downey 7

Appeared under a small bit of pressure coming into this game to hold his place but he turned in a good performance. Appears to keep his best for the big games. Good defensively and always looking to make hard yards. Went into the scrum in the second half for a while when Dave Kilcoyne was in the bin. Another who can be well pleased with his showing

Simon Zebo 7

A real crowd favourite, he took his try well but also did very well to set up Earls for Munster’s first try. Not as involved as you’d like going forward but there’s more in him and he’ll relish another big outing in the semi-final

Ian Keatley 8

The biggest game of his professional career but he delivered when the pressure was on. His goal-kicking was flawless in the opening half when Munster needed it and he also steadied the nerves in the second with a well-struck penalty after Toulouse had cut the gap through Hosea Gear’s try. Won’t be happy with his short restart in the first half and could have done better for Gear’s try but overall he can be pleased

Conor Murray 9

Had to be a contender for man of the match as he was central to almost everything Munster did well. Made big carries for two of Munster’s second half tries and was unlucky not to get over in those instances and on one occasion in the first half. Continues to bring his game to a higher level. A really important part of this Munster side

Dave Kilcoyne 8

Another player who had to be on the shotrtlist for the man of the match award. Made a couple of big carries and worked very hard. Probably a bit unlucky to be sent to the bin but after missing out on the Ireland squad for the Six Nations, he reminded us all of his quality once again. Showed great strength for his try

Damien Varley 7

For the most part Munster’s lineout was very good and Varley played a key part in that. With Mthe maul a key part of their game plan, it was important the lineout functioned well and in that regard Varley deliverd. Also made a couple of good carries before being replaced by Duncan Casey

BJ Botha 7

Punished on occasion at scrum time but Munster were well on top in this area and Botha’s role was massive. Worked very hard too and was also on hand to make a couple of powerful carries. So important to Munster

Dave Foley 7

Another player for whom this was the biggest day of his career. Wasn’t one bit fazed by it. Worked well in the lineout and was prominent in the hectic opening quarter. The experience will stand to him. Replaced late on by Donncha O’Callaghan

Paul O’Connell 8

A typical O’Connell display even if he wasn’t as dominant as he can be. Took on the captaincy after O’Mahony went off and you couldn’t hope for a better replacement. Always looking for work and was rewarded with his late try. The reception from the crowd said it all. There couldn’t have been a more popular scorer

Peter O’Mahony N/A

An unfortunate injury as Munster can ill-afford to be without someone of his quality. They got away with it on Saturday but they mightn’t always

Tommy O’Donnell 7

O’Donnell got through a mountain of work and in O’Mahony’s absence, he really delivered. A powerful carrier, he also showed lovely hands to set up Casey Laulala for his try in the second half

James Coughlan 8

Munster’s busiest tackler and one of their biggest carrier. A typical Coughlan display, no mistakes, calmness personified and always leading the way. Big games bring out the best in him

Replacements

CJ Stander 9

The official man of the match and given that he only played for 60 minutes, that’s some going. Tackled brilliantly and always a great option to carry. His try was reward for a fine display. Will probably start the next day

John Ryan 8

Ryan was thrust into the action when Dave Kilcoyne was sin-binned but despite his lack of experience at this level, he put in a brilliant cameo. The scrum held up well when he was on and he showed his strength on a couple of occasions too. One to watch

Duncan Casey 7

He played a part in Paul O’Connell’s try and looks to be getting better with every Munster appearance.

Donncha O’Callaghan, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Gerhard van den Heever weren’t on long enough to be rated