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Gloucester v Ulster ratings: Back row stand strong as European dream comes to an early end at Kingsholm

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Ulster's Jordi Murphy is supported by Nick Timoney as he is tackled in their defeat to Gloucester (David Davies/PA Wire)

Ulster's Jordi Murphy is supported by Nick Timoney as he is tackled in their defeat to Gloucester (David Davies/PA Wire)

PA

Ulster's Jordi Murphy is supported by Nick Timoney as he is tackled in their defeat to Gloucester (David Davies/PA Wire)

Ulster's Heineken Champions Cup hopes look to be dead and buried after a second straight defeat in Europe, this time at the hands of Gloucester.

There were some mixed displays on the pitch at Kingsholm as the two sides shared nine tries, four yellow cards and three penalty tries in what was an enthralling game.

Michael Sadlier takes a look at who impressed individually...

Starting XV

Michael Lowry - 7

As usual, he looked really dangerous when running the ball back and fully deserved his try. Always looking to take men on even in such difficult conditions for handling.

Matt Faddes - 5

He was beaten for Gloucester’s opening score though the Kiwi did make a number of great catches under the high ball but threw a forward pass in one promising attack.

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James Hume - 5

Also skinned for the first try he put in a strong run at the end of the half and Ulster’s penalty try came when McCloskey’s pass to him was deliberately knocked on.

Stuart McCloskey - 6

It was loose tackling for first Gloucester try and then made a great break but couldn’t link with Cooney. Won a key penalty and got stronger as the game wore on.

Jacob Stockdale - 7

A stint at flanker during the 13-man period, he was pretty solid under balls coming out of the sky before being horribly whacked in the back by Walker and emptied by Ludlow.

Billy Burns - 6

Fit again and it was scripted that back at his former club he scored the opening Ulster try. Ran the game well when he had the chance and was hit late before leaving.

John Cooney - 7

His penalty when Ulster had 13 men was huge, never mind that his second shot saw the ball fall off the tee and then came his bonus point solo score. A great effort.

Eric O'Sullivan - 6

Had to perform throwing-in duties at a few lineouts and went the full distance in the game though he appeared to have been penalised at the end which was costly.

Rob Herring - 6

Shipped Ulster’s first yellow card as Gloucester drove for the line, there were lineout issues again though conditions weren’t ideal. He battled really hard when it mattered.

Marty Moore - 5

One nice link up with O’Sullivan looked pretty neat and the prop also made eight tackles. The scrums were solid but he was subbed off early in the second half.

Alan O'Connor - 6

One strong drive early on and then he was singled out for Ulster’s second yellow card just moments after Herring had gone. Put in a tough shift after his return.

David O'Connor - 6

Some hard driving was complemented by notable lineout takes from the younger O’Connor and he was credited with 15 tackles which was some work-rate for the lock.

Sean Reidy - 5

Unusually for him, it wasn’t quite the usual shift we’ve come to expect. He couldn’t stop Rees-Zammit for the first try and seemed to run out of steam.

Jordi Murphy - 7

Back after the birth of his child, he was involved in the lead up to Lowry’s try and popped up at key moments to force Gloucester errors or gain possession.

Nick Timoney - 7

A tough task to come in for Coetzee but did pretty well. There was a good hit on Moyle in first half and then made two contributions for Lowry’s score.

Replacements

John Andrew (for Faddes, 30-36 mins) - 3

Only on as a temporary sub while Herring was sin binned

Tom O'Toole (for Moore, 44 mins) - 5

Some hard drives near the line

Matty Rea (for Reidy, 44 mins) - 5

Worked hard without great impact

Ethan McIlroy (for Lowry, 73 mins) - n/a

Was only on for a minute

Ian Madigan (for Burns, 75 mins) - n/a

There was nothing he could have done to stop Barton from that distance

Not used: Kyle McCall, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson

The coach

Dan McFarland - 6

Hardly ideal to not have Coetzee and Carter but then neither was shipping three yellow cards, though they fought back and again probably should have prevailed in such a dramatic game.

Belfast Telegraph


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