Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Comment: New signings are the real plus as Ulster ease past the Cheetahs

By Jonathan Bradley

First and foremost I suppose Ulster are going to be really pleased with how their debutants got on.

Jean Deysel got the Man of the Match award but there were really impressive performances from John Cooney and Christian Leali'ifano as well, who after meeting each other only a week and a half ago seemed to have a real understanding in that half back area, which will be really important for Ulster without Paddy Jackson and having lost Ruan Pienaar.

Marcell Coetzee, coming back from around a year out with various knee injuries, was superb in his 50 minutes.

The only thing you would say from Ulster's perspective is if you take away those Cheetahs yellow cards it's a much closer game - four tries scored when they were down to 14 through yellow cards and another try scored when they had a man down due to injury. Ulster actually only scored one try against 15 men. That'll be something the Cheetahs will be really disappointed by.

It's a good building block for Ulster given the way the summer went and last season. They needed a strong start to the season and I suppose no matter how they get there you can't ask for more than five points from the first game, and they have a favourable fixture next week (against Treviso) to build on.

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