Belfast Telegraph

Ulster v Connacht ratings: who stood out as Kingspan men finish 2019 with a bonus point win?

Guinness PRO14, Kingspan Stadium, Belfast, Northern Ireland 27/12/2019 Ulster vs Connacht
Ulster's Will Addison passes the ball
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Guinness PRO14, Kingspan Stadium, Belfast, Northern Ireland 27/12/2019 Ulster vs Connacht Ulster's Will Addison passes the ball Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Ulster got a late Christmas present at Kingspan Stadium on Friday night as they picked up five points in a 35-3 bonus point win over Connacht.

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Robert Baloucoune was once again impressive, while Sean Reidy was the official Man of the Match, but who else looked good for Dan McFarland's side?

Here's how Adam McKendry saw it unfold:

Starting XV

Will Addison - 8

Another all-action offensive display from the full-back in front of new Ireland head coach Andy Farrell, this will have done him a lot of good.

Robert Baloucoune - 8

Connacht gave him the room to work in and he duly obliged. Scored one try and did superbly to deny another at the other end. Big display.

Luke Marshall - 7

Has become an essential part of this Ulster back line with another solid performance as the link man in the middle of the park.

Stuart McCloskey - 7

Did everything Ulster needed him to do, sucking in defenders with his big carries to create space out wide for the wingers. Underrated performer.

Louis Ludik - 6

Was a pest under the high ball until he was forced off early due to injury, which would be a cruel blow given how well he’s done this year.

Billy Burns - 7

Looked energised after his Ireland call-up, only continues to get better as the season goes on with some brilliant variation to his game.

John Cooney - 7

Not on the scoresheet this time around but still did everything well in another strong display in an Ulster jersey. Still the form No.9 in Ireland.

Jack McGrath - 7

Didn’t shy away from the physical side of the game despite returning from a long lay-off, was resolute and got through 50 mins of work.

Rob Herring - 7

The line-out was a mixed bag, but Herring’s work rate around the park made up for it as he stakes his claim for an Ireland spot in the Six Nations.

Marty Moore - 7

Tried to carry as much as possible and was a handful for defenders, while continues to be a big unit to deal with in the tight as well.

Alan O’Connor - 7

Was maybe a tad fortunate to get his score, but he deserved it for a tireless work rate in yet another understated performance for the hosts.

Kieran Treadwell - 6

Did his usual barnstorming carrying but was beaten at the lineout quite frequently and was hauled adrift early despite not playing last week.

Matthew Rea - 7

Came to the fore with his carrying on this occasion and continues to rack up 80-minute displays for Ulster. Another impressive night.

Sean Reidy - 8

Named man of the match and was deserving of it. A nuisance at the breakdown and was a key man as a link-up player in midfield too.

Marcell Coetzee - 6

Ulster will be concerned after he went off early following a big collision with Paddy McAllister. Could do with not losing him ahead of January.

Replacements

Nick Timoney (for Coetzee, 24mins): Slotted in seamlessly after coming on early and rewarded with a late try 7

Craig Gilroy (for Ludik, 28mins): Better defensively than in previous weeks and tried to attack as much as possible 7

Kyle McCall (for McGrath, 51mins): Was noticeable in the loose, but the scrum struggles can’t be ignored unfortunately 5

Tom O’Toole (for Moore, 51mins): Scrum struggled after he came on but still not a bad outing 6

David O’Connor (for Treadwell, 60mins): Tried to put himself about in the latter stages to good effect 6

Bill Johnston (for Burns, 62mins): Added some energy late on 6

Adam McBurney (for Herring, 65mins): Line-out was poor 5

David Shanahan (for Cooney, 70mins): Not on long enough 5

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