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Leinster 24-12 Ulster player ratings: Young guns show up in defeat as unbeaten run comes to an end in Dublin

 

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Ulster's John Cooney clears the ball despite the interests of Ross Byrne of Leinster (INPHO/Laszlo Geczo)

Ulster's John Cooney clears the ball despite the interests of Ross Byrne of Leinster (INPHO/Laszlo Geczo)

©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Ulster's John Cooney clears the ball despite the interests of Ross Byrne of Leinster (INPHO/Laszlo Geczo)

Ulster's unbeaten run in the Guinness PRO14 has come to an end after their 24-12 defeat to Leinster at the RDS Arena.

It was a hard-fought game in Dublin as Ulster stood up strongly in the first half but ultimately couldn't hang on after the restart.

Michael Sadlier looks at who impressed in the loss...

Starting line-up

Michael Lowry - 7

Did superbly to take a high ball off Keenan and was sharp and solid throughout save for missing Sexton at one point. Dealt well with all the pressure.

Matt Faddes - 4

Good charge-down in opening minutes but should have stopped Kearney for Leinster’s first score and then Henshaw got through him for the home side’s third.

James Hume - 7

Popped up at first receiver in one attack and supported McCloskey well for another but then won a huge penalty off Cronin which Ulster needed.

Stuart McCloskey - 6

Strong and direct as he had to be, Leinster struggled with him for a while but then he, like Ulster, seemed to fade at a key point from the game.

Ethan McIlroy - 7

Thumped by Henshaw but did really well to keep a Sexton kick to touch in play and there was some great covering too. Missed Keenan but looked sharp.

Billy Burns - 5

Also culpable for Kearney’s score, there was some poor kicking from hand and he will be disappointed that he didn’t put his stamp on this clash.

John Cooney - 7

With so much good work being done, he needed to step up with the tee and how he did with four from four. Also box-kicked well too.

Andrew Warwick - 6

Good double hit with O’Connor on Healy and put himself about aggressively throughout. The scrums were mostly solid too which was admirable up against Porter.

Rob Herring - 6

Won an important turnover with Murphy off Healy but, overall, seemed to have a quiet enough game and wasn’t as prominent as he might have liked.

Marty Moore - 3

His arm heavily strapped, there was an early aggressive carry into contact before he departed very early for what was later revealed to be an HIA.

Alan O’Connor - 7

Nice hands early on wans was there to drive Van der Flier back on the line. He also started to get stuck into Leinster’s lineout too and never gave up.

Sam Carter - 4

Stripped of the ball in one early carry and then dragged a second half maul down which led to Leinster’s second. He was also penalised shortly afterwards at a ruck.

Greg Jones - 6

Strong carrying and produced one really hard hit on Kearney before then helping secure Ulster’s closing penalty of the first half. He left eight minutes after the restart.

Jordi Murphy - 7

Won a vital looking turnover but then was done by Doris but not to be outdone he hit back. His defensive work never slackened against his old team.

Marcell Coetzee - 6

An early penalty concession was costly, but it got worse through Coetzee’s yellow card for a high hit on Cronin. After that he never quite made the required impact.

Replacements

John Andrew (for Herring, 62 mins) - 6

Eric O’Sullivan (for Warwick, 50 mins) - 6

Tom O’Toole (for Moore, 6 mins) - 6

Kieran Treadwell (for Carter, 50 mins) - 6

Nick Timoney (for Jones, 48 mins) - 7

Dave Shanahan (for Cooney, 76 mins) - 5

Ian Madigan (for Burns 63 mins) - 5

Ben Moxham (for Faddes, 57 mins) - 5

Belfast Telegraph


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