United Rugby Championship: Five Ireland players who impressed for Munster and Ulster on Friday

Jared Wright
Following Friday's United Rugby Championship (URC) action, Planet Rugby picks out the standout Ireland players from the Munster and Ulster performances. 

Following Friday’s United Rugby Championship (URC) action, Planet Rugby picks out the standout Ireland players from the Munster and Ulster performances. 

Munster claimed a stunning 58-3 victory over Ospreys, while Ulster fell to a 17-11 defeat to Glasgow Warriors in a hard-fought encounter.

Antoine Frisch (Munster)

The 26-year-old was outstanding against the Ospreys, linking up with Malakai Fekitoa to great effect. 

Frisch sliced through the Welsh side’s defence and delivered a perfectly timed offload to Fekitoa for Munster’s second try of the match.

Fekitoa returned the favour soon after as the pair perfectly executed a delightful one-two. The former All Black crashed into the line off a pass from Frisch, who wrapped around to receive the offload and run in the game’s third try.

He gained over 100 running metres, made three clean breaks and completed all his tackles in an incredibly well-rounded performance that included two try involvements. 

The French-born centre qualifies for Ireland via a grandmother who was born in Dublin and is reportedly attracting interest from Top 14 clubs. Munster will be desperate to hold onto him, especially after the confirmation that Fekitoa will depart at the end of the season. 

If he continues this form, Andy Farrell may consider capping him before France attempt to. 

Joe Carbery (Munster)

Munster’s attack was firing on all cylinders against Ospreys, and Carbery was dictating play wonderfully.

Dropped from the Ireland squad, the match provided the fly-half with the opportunity to prove himself in between Six Nations matches, and the 27-year-old looked exceptionally confident. 

He did have a few troubles off the tee but Munster bossed proceedings, making those misses irrelevant in the match’s outcome. 

He mixed up his approach on attack, sublimely making the correct decisions with ball in hand. His kicking out of hand was solid and he attacked the line when the opportunity was on, resulting in a well-taken try with a delightful dummy. The playmaker also didn’t miss a beat when moving to full-back. 

When playing with this kind of confidence, he is a joy to watch, and his outing will send a message to Andy Farrell. 

Gavin Coombes (Munster)

Back in the Munster red with a point to prove after missing out on the Irleand 23 for the opening Six Nations matches.

Coombes thundered into tackles, as he always does, hitting double digits. He ran an excellent angle off the shoulder of Jean Kleyn to score the opening try of the match and doubled up after half-time. He found his way over the line for a third time before the final whistle to round off a stellar performance.  

Caelan Doris has been unbelievable for Ireland in the opening two games of the Six Nations and is unlikely to be usurped by Coombes anytime soon, but the Munsterman is applying the pressure.

Tom Stewart (Ulster)

Called into the Ireland squad but yet to make his Test debut, Stewart showed why he is on the radar of the Test coaches. 

While his side were beaten by an excellent Glasgow team that refuses to give up at home, the hooker was a clear standout during his 62-minute shift.

The 22-year-old hit double digits in carries (15) and tackles (11) and gained over 30 metres with the ball in hand.

Ulster’s lineout was somewhat successful with him on the pitch as he adds further depth to Ireland’s front-row stocks. 

Kieran Treadwell (Ulster)

The second-rower was one of the players who suffered from Ulster‘s poor form before the Six Nations squad was announced. 

He played in big games for Ireland last year, featuring in the July series win over New Zealand and the November victory over South Africa.

In testing conditions at Scotstoun, Treadwell impressed, leading the way on defence. He racked up over 20 tackles and worked in tandem with his back-row to pester the Glasgow breakdown. 

He was solid in the lineout and is another who is pressing for a recall when the Ireland squad regather for the Test against Italy next week. 

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