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Clermont v Ulster ratings: John Cooney leads the way again but province beaten in Champions Cup

Ulster's John Cooney scores a try despite Alivereti Raka of Clermont
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Ulster's John Cooney scores a try despite Alivereti Raka of Clermont Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

By Michael Sadlier

Michael Sadlier rates the Ulster team after a disappointing collapse against Clermont.

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Dan McFarland, He went with close to his strongest side but the manner in which they fell away suggests that much work is still to be done regarding the key issues of being more accurate and ruthless. 6

Will Addison, Again looked safe and sharp at the back. He made some nice passes and there was a notable turnover too. But as things started to unravel after he limped off. 7

Robert Baloucoune, Nice early tackle to get his eye in and then what a hit on George Moala to save a try. He didn’t exactly get into the game though when it came to attack. 6

Luke Marshall, Played a pivotal role in directing the attack and defence but on too many occasions the ball was lost in contact. He was also obliterated by Raka from a Faddes hospital pass. 6

Stuart McCloskey, Made the first statement with his break though ought to have passed when a try was on. Made a number of other influential incursions in the game and was strong at the breakdown. 7

Jacob Stockdale, Had little chance when given a shot at the blindside when he was buried. Ended up at full-back after Addison went off. Again not involved enough in finding space and attacking. 5

Billy Burns, Didn’t enjoy having to try and hit Raka which inevitably ended in him being bounced. Wanted to be more centrally involved and there was none of the usual variety in his game. 5

John Cooney, Well he just had to make an impact didn’t he? Another try, his ninth this season, was from another great support run. Scored all 13 of Ulster’s points and saved a try in the second half. 8

Jack McGrath, Looked busy early on and also put in a good defensive shift. The scrums began to crumble but this seemed to be mostly coming from issues on the other side. 6

Rob Herring, That overthrow in the first half was unfortunate but, as usual, there was no letting up in his work rate. Ten tackles were testimony to that but will be frustrated all the same. 6

Marty Moore, Yet again his work with the ball was right up there with the off-load for Cooney creating a try. But then it looked like his ankle was an issue which wrecked the scrums. 6

Alan O'Connor, Won a notable turnover at the start of the second half and there was a clean break too which unfortunately ended up with Ulster losing possession. 6

Iain Henderson, There was some good work from the skipper with 12 close-in carries and he made 10 tackles. But work-rate along wasn’t enough to keep his side going forward. 7

Sean Reidy, His surge helped get things under way for Cooney’s score and he made 11 tackles and carries and never shirked any of the difficult stuff. Looked tired near the end. 6

Jordi Murphy, Played it smart when getting the ball in open country and waited for support as a pose to getting isolated. Some lineout work too but this was a tricky enough afternoon. 5

Marcell Coetzee, Ulster needed him back and obliterated Abendanon in the first half but became more of a lone operator with scraps only coming his way in the remainder. Still made 20 carries. 7

Subs:

Tom O'Toole for Moore 49mins Scrum struggles but carried 5, Matt Faddes for Addison 51mins Didn’t exactly have a big impact 4, Eric O'Sullivan for McGrath 61mins Watched it all slip away 5, Kieran Treadwell for O’Connor 69mins No significant impact 4, Matty Rea for Murphy 69mins Didn’t impose himself 4, David Shanahan for Cooney 69mins Not much to cheer 3, Bill Johnston for Burns 69mins Also little impression 3.

Not used: Adam McBurney

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