Belfast Telegraph

Harlequins v Ulster ratings: Cooney shines again as province edge closer to Champions Cup knockouts

Ulster's Tom O'Toole drives for the line against Harlequins (Adam Davy/PA)
Ulster's Tom O'Toole drives for the line against Harlequins (Adam Davy/PA)

By Michael Sadlier

It was another huge night for John Cooney as he boosted his Ireland hopes in leading Ulster to a 34-10 win over Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop.

Rugby round up Newsletter

Game previews, plus expert insights and exclusive commentary from the Belfast Telegraph sports team.

The scrum-half was Man of the Match again for the province, but who else impressed as they took a big step towards the Champions Cup knockouts?

Michael Sadlier assesses their performances...

Starting XV

Jacob Stockdale: Not a great start but made a great run for Cooney’s try. Nearly got away for a try and there was a super touch-finder as well 6

Matt Faddes: Wasn’t having a great evening but then had two big moments providing the assist for Cooney and then stepped in and grabbed the bonus point try 7

Luke Marshall: Another who wasn’t quite himself in the first half but was strong for his try early in the second half. Could do little about Lewies’ score 6

Stuart McCloskey: Was strong as you would expect him to be though maybe not as influential overall. He was the creator for Marshall’s second half try 6

Louis Ludik: There was a cross-kick which came his way but he was emptied into touch. Was strong with a few runs and also did some useful kick-chasing 7

Billy Burns: Smashed early By Dombrandt, he recovered well and made a great off-load for Cooney’s score. Kept Ulster going forward before having to leave the action after Quins’ try 7

John Cooney: It wasn’t all about marvellous stuff but even so everything was overshadowed by two crucial tries. Also made an absolutely vital tackle on Chisholm 8

Eric O’Sullivan: Another big ask against Sinckler and there was a great tackle and some useful hands too. Yet again a really decent lengthy shift by the loose-head 7

Rob Herring: Some trademark charges with ball in hand and grafted away to reasonable effect though will be disappointed that his last action was a crooked throw 6

Marty Moore: Carried and supported strongly and the scrum seemed OK but then he shipped an injury issue and left the field just after the half hour which looked worrying 5

Iain Henderson: He tried to offer himself as a ball-carrying option but was knocked back time and again. Was knocked over by Kunatani and then hit high by him as well 5

Kieran Treadwell: The former Harlequin was clearly fired up but he lost one early pass and then had the ball ripped off him but appeared to leave the field injured 4

Sean Reidy: Lost the ball forward from one driving maul in the first half but put in his usual hard graft without this time making the impression he would have liked 5

Jordi Murphy: He was well emptied at one point by Kunatani and was mostly visible when used as an option at the lineout. His main contribution was the work-rate defensively 5

Marcell Coetzee: As usual he was the very focal point of Ulster’s ball-carrying aggression. Put in most of his work in the first half when Ulster used him so much 7


Tom O’Toole (for Moore, 34 mins): Some good work and a late try 6

Alan O’Connor (for Treadwell, 49 mins): Brought that extra physicality 6

Matty Rea (for Reidy, 49 mins): There was one notable carry 6

Bill Johnston (for Burns, 62 mins): Bizarrely tried a drop goal with penalty coming 4

Adam McBurney (for Herring, 66 mins): Two crooked throws but helped create Ulster 6

Andy Warwick (for O’Sullivan, 71 mins): Helped secure the result 5

Craig Gilroy (for Ludik, 73mmins): Not time for an impact 4

Dave Shanahan (for Cooney, 77 mins): Again, not on long enough 4

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