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How the Ulster players rated during the Champions Cup victory over La Rochelle

Ulster players surround Nick Timoney to celebrate his try during the 20-13 win over La Rochelle.
Ulster players surround Nick Timoney to celebrate his try during the 20-13 win over La Rochelle.

Ratings by Jonathan Bradley

Ulster are one small step away from the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup after their thrilling 20-13 win over La Rochelle at Kingspan Stadium.

But how did the individual players perform? Jonathan Bradley was there to cast his eye over the men in white.

Ulster player ratings v La Rochelle

Charles Piutau 7: Led the side in carries and was assuredly more solid looking than in his indifferent showing in Dublin just seven days earlier.

Craig Gilroy 6: Through no fault of his own, Ulster seemed better balanced after his injury. Has been in form so all will be hoping it’s not a broken cheekbone.

Louis Ludik 8: Switched from centre to wing early on and is one man who will have certainly felt it on Sunday. Some brilliantly physical work in defence.

Stuart McCloskey 7:  Another who was tasked with carrying it into the teeth of La Rochelle’s sizeable rearguard. Worked hard for the cause.

Jacob Stockdale 8: Has set high standards this year and won’t need to be told Leinster fell below them. Back at it here and scored a great try.

Jacob Stockdale celebrates scoring his side's second try.

Christian Leali'ifano 8: Kicking from hand the only blot on the copybook but another performance of real grit on his last outing at Kingspan. Will be missed.

John Cooney 8: Continues to endear himself to the crowd with a spikiness that saw him picking fights with props. His kicking game expertly managed final quarter.

Callum Black 8: Somewhat underplayed storyline of late has been Black’s return to being Ulster’s undisputed first-choice loosehead. Emptied the tank again here.

Rory Best 9: Captain’s effort from man-of-the-match. The ferocity that he hit rucks led the way in terms of showing what’s needed and got over for score.

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Ulster's Rory Best celebrates Saturday's success with his sons Richie and Ben

Rodney Ah You 7: The scrum was something of a mess throughout but was never going to be Ulster’s strength. A few notable carries and big hits.

Alan O'Connor 8:  Is never going to be the flashiest of players but has continued to progress this season. Made 11 tackles and led the side in the line-out.

Mattie Rea 7: A big ask for the youngster up against, and selected ahead, of much bigger names, but he did all that was asked of him and more.

Ian Henderson 9: The skipper got man of the match but Henderson was superb. Forced a few turnovers after his own tackles by spoiling La Rochelle ball.

Sean Reidy 7:  As is par for the course at this stage, Reidy led the side in tackles despite being replaced by Chris Henry for the final 15 minutes of the game.

Nick Timoney 8: Academy man has now featured in Ulster’s last three Euro games. Work-rate was typified by the crucial third score that started with his tackle.

Ulster's Nick Timoney breaks free to score his side's third try of the game


Darren Cave (for Gilroy, 27mins) 8: Big performance.

Kyle McCall (for Black, 57mins) 7: Came in to a high-pressure spot

Kieran Treadwell (for Rea, 57mins) 7: Put himself about.

Chris Henry (for Reidy, 64mins) 6: Could almost have scored but foot in touch.

Ross Kane (for Ah You, 67mins) 6: Held up to scrutiny.

Rob Herring (for Best, 72mins) 6:  Limited minutes but did his job.

Johnny McPhillips (for Leali’ifano, 72mins) 6: Game time in big spot will do him well.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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