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How the Ulster players rated in Champions Cup loss to La Rochelle

Ratings by Michael Sadlier

Ulster were beaten 41-17 in La Rochelle on Sunday as they suffered only their second defeat of the season so far.

Director of Rugby Les Kiss reckoned that individual errors were to blame for the loss but how did each player rate? Here's Michael Sadlier's take on their performances:

Charles Piutau 7

He terrified La Rochelle in the first half but then faded from the game and there were errors. Neatly set up Bowe’s second half try.

Andrew Trimble 5

Ulster’s now record cap holder threw the pass for the first French try but took a great restart. Still, not one he will want to remember.

Darren Cave 6

A rare outing as he won Ulster cap number 197. Showed a lovely touch for Leali’ifano’s try and pulled off a great turnover tackle on Doumayrou.

Stuart McCloskey 5

He was predictably launched on barrelling runs through the middle to try and give Ulster some route one but just couldn’t dominate the game.

Tommy Bowe 7

Some lovely link play for Leali’ifano’s try and then managed a wonderful tackle to stop Jordann from scoring in the corner before scoring himself.

Christian Leali’ifano 7

So sharp for his try and was the fulcrum of Ulster’s bid to unsettle the French early on. Once he had gone things changed.

Paul Marshall 6

Making his 199th appearance, he mixed his game up well and there was one break through the middle. But it all got too difficult.

Callum Black 6

The scrums had been an area of worry and he held up well. He put in a pretty big defensive shift too though missed Lacroix for Vito’s score.

Rob Herring 6

Another who didn’t shy away from the physical stuff and he knocked Lar Rochelle players down when he could.

Wiehahn Herbst 5

The scrums actually went pretty well and he also managed to have enough energy to make some notable hits too before departing.

Alan O’Connor 5

He did his utmost to keep Ulster going forward but just before he was taken off you got the feeling he was being swamped.

Kieran Treadwell 5

This was a very new experience for him and as the game wore on so did the fatigue with Gourdon’s score coming after a defensive error.

Iain Henderson 6

At times seemed to be single-handedly trying to drag Ulster forward but he was unable to have the influence he would have hoped.

Sean Reidy 5

He toiled away but as with so many of his team-mates the intensity La Rochelle brought in the second half was just too much.

Chris Henry 5

Won an early penalty on the deck but as things opened up in the second half it ended up an all hands to the pump affair.

Replacements:

John Cooney (Leali’ifano, 48) 5: Too many errors at out-half

Jacob Stockdale (Trimble, 51) 4: No impact

Rodney Ah You (Herbst, 52) 5: The game was gone

Robbie Diack (O’Connor, 56) 4: 200th cap wasn’t a good one

Rory Best (Herring, 61) 5: Little influence on his first game back

Luke Marshall (Cave, 63) 4: Struggle

Mattie Rea (Reidy, 67) 4: No real impact

Andy Warwick (Black, 70) 4: Saw out time

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