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How the Ulster players rated in their defeat to the Cardiff Blues

Ulster crashed to another dismal defeat on Saturday when they were comfortably beaten 35-17 by Cardiff Blues.

Here are our ratings:

Charles Piutau 6

The soon-to-be Bristol full-back was Ulster’s most potent attacking threat in a game they seemed sure to end try-less until the very end.

Craig Gilroy 5

Ulster couldn’t get the ball outside as well as Cardiff, and as such it was a relatively quiet game for the in-form winger. Some defensive issues.

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Craig Gilroy is tackled by Josh Turnbull

Luke Marshall 5

Made one clean break on a day they were few and far between having overcome an early wrist injury to get through an hour of action.

Stuart McCloskey 5

Plenty of carries but by and large they were into the teeth of an aggressive Cardiff defence. Had to force openings, resulting in a few turnovers.

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Stuart McCloskey on the charge

Jacob Stockdale 5

Ireland’s Grand Slam hero switched back into a struggling side. No real chance to shine with a few too many missed tackles.

Johnny McPhillips 4

Ulster lost the breakdown battle and the ball to the out-half wasn’t good. Needed to change things up but did show good footwork.

John Cooney 6

Did his best to dig the ball out but Ulster didn’t match Cardiff’s tempo. Kicked well to keep the side in touch for an hour.

Andy Warwick 5

Gave away one penalty but Ulster’s scrum was one area of the game where they weren’t an obvious second best.

Rob Herring 5

Ulster’s second-best tackler on the day with 16 made and only one missed. Was involved in one of the side’s better breaks.

Wiehahn Herbst 4

Ended Ulster’s best period of the game with a yellow card on the half-hour mark. On another day could have seen red.

Alan O'Connor 5

Questionable calls to go to the corner when Cooney was keeping scoreboard ticking over. Coughed up a few turnovers but tackled well.

Kieran Treadwell 4

Conspicuously empty stat sheet from the lock who made four tackles all game while missing two. Didn’t register an impact.

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Kieran Treadwell is tackled by Kristian Dacey

Iain Henderson 6

Back in Ulster colours, the first Cardiff try wasn’t his finest tackle attempt but largely showed he was a cut above what was around him.

Clive Ross 5

Selected for a rate start after good work with the As. A game carrier as always and worked hard but copybook was blotted with turnovers.

Nick Timoney 6

Bright spots have been hard to find this season but Timoney has been one. His side’s best player, even if Nick Williams edged their personal battle.

Replacements

John Andrew (for Herring, 60) 5: Helped line-out function.

Louis Ludik (for Marshall, 61) 5: Fairly quiet cameo in losing cause.

Matty Dalton (for Treadwell, 64) 6: Almost scored but held up.

Callum Black (for Warwick, 70) 5: Few tackles in late defensive stand.

Ross Kane (for Herbst, 70) 6: Put himself about in two spells.

Dave Shanahan (for Cooney, 73) 6: At least stopped Ulster going without try.

Pete Nelson (for McCloskey, 74) 5: Only given token minutes.

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