How the Munster players rated

Colm Kinsella

Reporter:

Colm Kinsella

Munster's Andrew Smith is tackled by Scott Baldwin, of the Ospreys, in their Guinness PRO12 semi-final clash at Thomond Park on Saturday
MUNSTER player ratings for Saturday’s Guinness PRO12 semi-final clash with Ospreys at Thomond Park.

MUNSTER player ratings for Saturday’s Guinness PRO12 semi-final clash with Ospreys at Thomond Park.

15. Felix Jones 7

Full-back Jones is enjoying a fine end to the season. Calm and assured under the high ball, Jones also offers a genuine counter-attacking threat although he will be disappointed to have slipped off a couple of tackles.

14. Keith Earls 7

Earls looks revitalised and refreshed after missing the early part of the season with a knee injury. Continues to excite crowds with ball in hand. Sure to have impressed the watching Joe Schmidt on Saturday.

13. Andrew Smith 8

Twenty nine-year-old Aussie centre Smith has formed a solid midfield partnership with Denis Hurley this season. Smith is clearly suited by top-of-the-ground conditions which prevail at this time of the year.

12. Denis Hurley 7

Produced a top class finish to score Munster’s second try at the start of the second period. The 30-year-old continues to grow into the inside centre position have built his reputation as a full-back and winger

11. Simon Zebo 7

Zebo scored his seventh try in eight league games when touching down just before half-time to give Munster a precious 11-3 half-time lead. However, Zebo failed to finish the encounter as he was taken off for head injury assessment on 67 minutes.

10. Ian Keatley 5

Out-half Keatley managed the game very well, but had a very disapointing day with the boot, missing out on 12 points in a two-from-seven kicking return. Has had off days with the boot before and bounced back strongly. Big test lies ahead in saturday’s final with Glasgow.

9. Conor Murray 6

Muarry has been a key player for Munster in recent weeks and it was a major blow to Anthony Foley’s charges when the 26-year-old limped off with suspected medial collateral ligament (MCL) damage in his right knee just 16 minutes. Seems unlikely that he will be fit for Saturday’s final in Belfast.

1. Dave Kilcoyne 7

Kilcoyne turned in another eye-catching display in Munster’s front row. Scrummaged very strongly and carried ball with telling effect, Looks set to start in Saturday’s final.

2. Eusebio Guinazu 7

Argentine Guinazu has been first choice hooker for Munster in recent weeks with Duncan Casey’s back injury. Guinazu’s line-out throwing was on the money agains the Ospreys. Casey is fit once again, but coach Foley will has a call to make as to which hooker starts against Glasgow.

3. Stephen Archer 7

Archer returned to the starting line-up for this dramatic semi-final clash. Justified his selection ahead of BJ Botha with an impressive scrummaging performance. Will hope to get the nod to start in next weekend’s decider.

4. Donnacha Ryan 6

Continues to improve with every outing in the red jersey having recovered from his long-term foot injury. Forming a formidable engine room partnership with O’Connell. Tireless worker.

5. Paul O’Connell 8

Looks like the talismanic second-row will play his final game for the province this Saturday in Belfast. Received a huge ovation from Munster supporters when he and his team mates came out to applaud the fans after full-time. Was highly influential during the game itself.

6. Peter O’Mahony 6

O’Mahony was forced out of the game soon after half-time with a tight hip flexor and the Munster management team will be sweating over his availability for Saturday’s final. O’Mahony’s loss would be a huge blow to Munster against Glasgow’s tenacious back-row unit.

7. Paddy Butler 8

Played his final game for Munster at Thomond Park on Saturday and signed off from the province on a high note, after turning in a hugely impressive display in the back row. Carried impressively and made countlss tackles. Executed beautifully timed pass to send Zebo in for Munster’s third try.

8. CJ Stander 8

Stander scooped his seventh official Man of the Match award in Saturday’s nail-biting semi-final victory. Now firmly established as one of Munster’s key ball carriers, Stander also excelled at the breakdown. Did throw the intercept in the lead up to Rhys Webb’s second half try for the Ospreys, however.

Replacements:

Duncan Williams 7

Came on for the injured Murray towards the end of the opening quarter and produced a competant display. The 29-year-old will be Munster’s go-to man at scrum-half this weekend if Ireland international Murray does not recover from his knee injury in time.

BJ Botha 6

South African tighthead Botha is in line to make his 100th appearance for the province on Saturday, but will he be given the nod to start the game? Archer impressed when starting against the Ospreys, but Botha brings a huge amount of top level experience.

Ronan O’Mahony 6

Turned in a higly impressive try-scoring display against the Dragons in Munster’s final regular season fixture, but started on the replacements benhc against the Ospreys with Zebo’s return. Did well when introduced on Saturday once again