Aviva Premiership 2012/2013 Final: Player Ratings

Leicester Tigers
15. Mat Tait: 8
Continues to go from strength to strength. Solid again under the high ball and has got that quick-stepping, counter-attacking style of his back, which allowed him to make several breaks and 110 metres in attack.

14. Niall Morris: 6.5
Finished the opening try well, but was fairly quiet thereafter. A breakthrough season, however, for the Irishman.

13. Manu Tuilagi: 7
Seemed to be having one of his quieter games, but then proved why he should start for the Lions if fit – scored a 50m try out of absolutely nothing. Power and pace combined to take him over the line and the game away from Saints.

12. Anthony Allen: 8
‘The glue that holds the team together’ has become something of a cliché when talking about Allen, but it is so apt. He was also more of a presence in attack than usual. 13 tackles points to another stirling effort from one of the Tigers’ most valuable players.

11. Veriniki Goneva: 7.5
Continued his end of season resurgence with a resoundingly powerful performance. Crossed for the final and decisive try, but was generally a nuisance when he popped up all over the pitch.

10. Toby Flood: 6.5
Was looking dangerous before being forced off with concussion. Attacked the gain-line with his usual gusto, and provided a superb assist for the opening try.

9. Ben Youngs: 6
A quiet afternoon for one of the Tigers’ Lions, who provided good service for his 10 but was marshalled well by the Saints defence.

1. Logovi’i Mulipola: 7.5
Superb scrummaging work to nullify Mujati meant he was less obvious in the loose than usual. Still, a prop’s primary job is to scrummage, and he did that fantastically well.

2. Tom Youngs: 6.5
A couple of wayward line-out throws detracted from what was otherwise an exceptional performance from the elder Youngs brother. Typically workman-like around the park.

3. Dan Cole: 7.5
Gave Tongahu’iha a fairly torrid send-off at scrum time as the Tigers dominated the set-piece.

4. Graham Kitchener: 9
How is this man not going with England to Argentina? His try included the awareness of a back to spot he was up against a front-row forward, and then the pace to exploit that mismatch. Several other strong carries showed that we should no longer talk of Kitchener just in terms of his great potential.

5. Geoff Parling: 6.5
Fairly quiet around the park and was out-thought at times in the line-out by opposing expert Christian Day.

6. Tom Croft: 6.5
As useful as ever in the line-out, but was conspicuous by his absence in the ball-carrying stakes, particularly when compared with his recent performances.

7. Julien Salvi: 7
The jackal was his usual pilfering self around the tackle area, and although he may not have actually turned much ball over he did help slow down Saints ball. Was also the Tigers’ second top tackler.

8. Jordan Crane: 7.5
Skippered the side well in Flood’s absence, and while 13 metres from nine carries isn’t a great return, he does always seem at least to manage to crash over the gain-line.

George Ford was forced on early and while his goal-kicking is still woefully inconsistent he did not seem overawed by responsibility and handled himself well in open play. Mafi’s assist for Goneva’s try was brilliantly audacious, while Castro’s send-off was short but sweet. He will be missed. Ed Slater was excellent again when brought on.

Northampton Saints
15. Ben Foden: 9
Northampton’s stand-out performer by some distance. Back to his best with several buzzing breaks that brought him 139 metres made, and was rewarded for his hard work with a try of his own. Didn’t deserve to be on the losing team.

14. Ken Pisi: 6
One of Saints’ potentially most dangerous players was well marshalled by the Tigers.

13. James Wilson: 6
Another Northampton back who went somewhat missing. Outplayed by the big man inside him, he is nevertheless a nice option for the Saints to have as he offers something different to their other bludgeoning options.

12. Luther Burrell: 7.5
Saints’ second best player – 10 tackles and an average of just under 11 metres per carry are strong stats for the big inside centre. Also provided two assists and showed a deft ability to offload that had previously been lacking from his game.

11. Jamie Elliot: 6.5
The live-wire winger was an unfortunate casualty after Hartley’s stupidity on the stroke of half time.

10. Stephen Myler: 6
A somewhat Jekyll and Hyde performance. He distributed well and took his try superbly, but also booted the ball straight out that indirectly led to Hartley’s red card.

9. Lee Dickson: 7
Showed great awareness to take a quick tap penalty that eventually led to Myler’s try, and picked the ball up off his bootstraps to score himself.

1. Soane Tonga’uiha: 5
In trouble at scrum time and anonymous in the loose, this was not the way a player who has leant so much to the Premiership would have wanted to bow out.

2. Dylan Hartley: 3
Sent off in a Premiership final is all that needs to be said really. Debate will rage on about whether his abuse was actually directed at Wayne Barnes, but that is beside the point really – use language like that near a referee after several warnings and what did he expect to happen?

3. Brian Mujati: 5
Part of a front row that conceded six penalties between them, Mujati was comfortably second best to Mulipola on the day.

4. Courtney Lawes: 6
11 tackles – including several absolute monsters – is a fine return, but only one carry for five metres is a criminal waste of a man with his physical attributes. Needs to get more involved with ball in hand if he is ever to become a great player.

5. Christian Day: 7
Brilliant at the line-out and able to get a deft offload away in the build-up to the Foden try.

6. Phil Dowson: 6
A fairly anonymous performance from Northampton’s workman in the back-row. Made twelve tackles and nine carries but never threatened to influence the game.

7. Tom Wood: 6.5
Would have been a point higher had he not missed the crucial tackle on Tuilagi that finally allowed Leicester some breathing room. Still, ran until there was absolutely nothing left and is a fine choice to captain England this summer.

8. Samu Manoa: 5.5
This could have been the day Manoa announced himself to the rugby world; instead, he went missing. Disappointingly quiet compared with previous weeks.

Mike Haywood probably didn’t expect to play a full half, but did very well all things considered. Waller and Mercer could not hinder Leicester’s dominance up front when they came on as replacement props, while Van Velze showed a couple of powerful surges but nothing that unduly worried the Tigers’ defence.

By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

9 thoughts on “Aviva Premiership 2012/2013 Final: Player Ratings

  1. I said it on here the other week, but I really think that Tuilagi’s all round skill set is really improving. He doesn’t just get his head down and try and smash through the defensive line every time he receives the ball now, he can distribute a bit more, actually draw a man, and other skills in order to put his team mates in space. But then with his try we see what he can do when he wants to break the line. For me, he has to start somewhere in the Lions back line. I would rather see him at 13, but if BOD is fit then I would at least want to see him at 12.

  2. Think it’s a little harsh on Lawes, yes with his pace and athleticism we would like to see him do more with ball in hand, but thought he was by far Saints best forward. He was pulverising in the tackle and Saints top source of line-out ball. Day had 0 line-out takes, about half the number of tackles and made 6m in 5 carries (rather than 5m in 1 carry). Would have given Lawes a 7.5.

    I hope Croft was preserving himself for the Lions, it was back to a Cardiff type performance, doing nothing outside of the line-out. On a firm ground in great conditions in a game that did really open up at times it was odd to see him missing.

    I would have gone for 8s or 8.5s for the Tigers props, it’s not just that they were on top in the scrum, it’s who they were on top against. I really fancied Mugati to get stuck into Mulipola in particular, so being that dominant against that quality of opposition was exceptional.

  3. As a newutral this was a great game to watcgh but giving the idiot Hartley 3 is too generous. Despite losing him Saints proved themselves a fine team till fatigue opened gaps thay couldn’t fill.
    Given that Delon Armitage was canned for suspensions Hartley with a worse record should never be allowed to play for England again.

    1. Armitage wasn’t canned for his suspension, he moved to France. Also, there are full backs that are better than him. Also, I have met Armitage on a night out before, and I can say with some confidence that he is a bit of a dick. I don’t think it is just me that thinks that, as apparently he causes problems in the dressing rooms regularly with his arrogance.

      Hartley, as much as he let himself down on Saturday, is very well respected in the England dressing room, but players and coaches alike.

      Basically the situation is very different, and I’d be very surprised if we didn’t see him playing again in the Autumn, let alone never again.

      1. have to completely agree with Jacob here.

        also, Hartley has had bans for things on the field. (gouge, bite, strike) and now this – which i think everyone can agree arose from a bit of a bizarre and clearly frustrating situation (and was still on the field).

        Armitage on the other hand has been banned for pushing and verbally abusing a drugs testing official in the changing room.

        interestingly, Armitage received an 8 week ban for this incident. So Hartley, who swore at a ref (and alleges it was actually at an opponent) gets 11 weeks, while Armitage has a verbal AND physical altercation with a drugs official, and he gets 8 weeks… he had 12 weeks reduced to 8. apparently it would have only been 6 had he pleaded guilty. 12 weeks is the low end ban for what Armitage did.

        that all seems a little bit disproportionate, and makes me think that Hartley will feel a little hard done by. (having said that, it is irrelevant how long his ban is, all that matters to him is that his lions chance is blown)

  4. Whilst not condoning Harltey’s moment of madness, the punishment is severe and gutted for him. Big blow for the Lions.

    Manu is the form centre of the Lions ones, and by far the most potent these days. It should be a question of who partners him!

    1. I don’t know about a blow for the Lions, certainly a blow for Hartley. Most thought that Best should have been going along in the first place and I think the Lions will benefit more from Best than Hartley

  5. Well played Leicester, particularly the props and Kitchener. What I would say about Tuilagi’s try though is that It was created by a Leicester 2nd row blocking Woods. He still saw the opportunity but he was fairly quiet apart from that.
    Hartley is a cretin. Which international coach is going to trust him now?

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