Ulster player ratings: Powerhouse Ireland hopeful shines despite thrashing by Leinster

Jared Wright
United Rugby Championship, Quarter Final, Leinster versus Ulster; David McCann of Ulster makes a run towards the try line Credit: Action Plus Sports

David McCann of Ulster makes a run towards the try line Credit: Action Plus Sports

Following Ulster’s 43-20 loss to Leinster in the United Rugby Championship quarter-finals, here is how Richie Murphy’s charges rated.

Ulster player ratings v Leinster

15 Stewart Moore: It was a breakout campaign for the full-back and he showed flashes against Leinster, grabbing one of Ulster’s three tries, but there were too many errors today, conceding four turnovers. 5

14 Mike Lowry: Took his late opportunity to score well after spending most of the match defending and returning kicks. His opposing player did get the better of him, though, as James Lowe grabbed a brace. 5

13 Will Addison: The Sale Sharks-bound midfielder showed what could have been at Ulster over his injury-stricken stint at the club. He was industrious on defence, making several sharp reads, and good inroads when attacking the line. 6

12 Stuart McCloskey: Always the brightest light in the Ulster backline, and today was no different. Superb link play and incredibly tricky to bring to ground when he charged at the Leinster defence. A standard McCloskey performance. 7

11 Jacob Stockdale: Impressed with the few opportunities he did have before he was sadly forced off the pitch. A hat-tip to the Ulster medical staff, who reacted quickly to his head knock. 5

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10 Billy Burns: His final outing before heading to Munster. He did his utmost to keep Ulster in the game but was poor defensively and was not dealt the best hand with attacking opportunities with the set-piece faltering. 4

9 John Cooney: Shone in periods throughout the game, including a nice assist, but ultimately wasn’t given the service he needed. 6

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Planet Rugby player ratings key 10 - Career defining performance 9 - Outright blockbuster effort 8 - Significantly influenced the result of the game 7 - Committed and effective outing 6 - Flashes of brilliance outside of executing fundamentals 5 - Fulfilling the role required by position (base level) 4 - Poor execution of fundamentals 3 - Costly errors and/or discipline in the game 2 - Poor performance that directly impacted the result 1 - Grossly ineffective throughout 0 - Should have carried water instead

Loose forwards

8 Nick Timoney: One of Ulster’s finest in defeat, which was rather fitting considering the season he has had for the province. Excellent on both sides of the ball and is surely in the running for an Ireland recall. Powerhouse performance in all facets. 8

7 David McCann: Grabbed Ulster’s opening try of the match and was one of his side’s most effective ball carriers during the fixture. 8

6 Matty Rea: Like his fellow back-rowers, Rea was mammoth on defence and relentlessly powered through his defensive work and pestered the breakdown when the opportunity was there. 6

Tight five

5 Cormac Izuchukwu: Only lasted 20 minutes but was hugely impressive with the ball in making hulking carries into the heart of the Leinster defence and shone on defence, too. Ulster missed him when he went off. 6

4 Harry Sheridan: Asked to make a huge amount of tackles and to his credit, he rose to the challenge. Iain Henderson’s absence was felt in the lineouts. 5

3 Tom O’Toole: Managed to hold up his end of the scrum despite the Leinster shuffle tactics and was hugely busy around the park, particularly in defence. 7

2 Rob Herring (c): Not entirely all his doing, but the lineout was not operating well, which hampered Ulster’s efforts. Still, like his fellow front-rowers, he put in a strong defensive shift before making way for Tom Stewart. 5

1 Eric O’Sullivan: Leinster had the upper hand overall despite Ulster applying some pressure in the first half. He missed four of his 11 attempted tackles. 4

Replacements: The result was pretty much set in stone was the bench was emptied, but a late flurry made the scoreline look a little more palatable. 6

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