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Ulster player ratings: John Cooney leads Ulster to PRO14 victory over Cardiff Blues at Kingspan Stadium

Ulster players congratulate captain Billy Burns after his try.
Ulster players congratulate captain Billy Burns after his try.

Ulster made it three wins from their opening four PRO14 matches with a nervy 23-14 success over Cardiff Blues at Kingspan Stadium on Friday evening.

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So how did the individual players fare? Here are our match ratings:

Starting XV

Will Addison 6: Will be delighted to be back after so long out, threatened to break out with some magic moments but never quite hit his stride

Craig Gilroy  7: Was always contesting kicks in the air and got his silky footwork going at times, although maybe not as much as he would have liked

Luke Marshall  7: Backed up display against the Kings with another big one here on both sides of the ball, unlucky to be the fall guy for repeated infringements

James Hume 5: Made one big carry, but that ended his night just two minutes in. A cruel blow for the young centre, who has been so good so far this season.

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Ulster's James Hume leaves the field with an injury that Dan McFarland would only confirm as a leg problem.

Louis Ludik 7: Very strong in the air and made some excellent defensive reads as the visitors pressed. A very solid performance, as per usual.

Billy Burns 7: Continues to grow into role as first choice fly half and backed it up with a nice try, and continues to improve his relationship with Cooney

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Ulster's Billy Burns touches down.

John Cooney 8: His unfortunate mistake for the try aside, this was an excellent display, headlined by some exceptional box kicking

Jack McGrath 6: Struggled at scrum time and was rarely used as a ball carrier in the loose, but was strong defensively in putting himself about the park

John Andrew 6: The line-out was solid and he added a couple of nice carries, but was part of a scrum going backwards and missed a couple of tackles

Tom O’Toole 7: A robust display from the tighthead, who was always a danger with ball in hand and held his side of the scrum well

Alan O’Connor 7: Ran an effective line-out and stood up in defence with some big tackles in a strong first-half effort before being brought off early on

Kieran Treadwell 6: Tackled well, but his usual barnstorming carries weren’t on display and had a fairly anonymous game in the loose, which wasn’t like him

Matthew Rea 6: Wasn’t as prominent as would have hoped. Had one nice carry in the build-up to the second score but was in and out of the game.

Sean Reidy 7: Another strong performance for the openside flanker, who set up the opening score and had some excellent carries in another busy display

Marcell Coetzee 7: Continues to underline his importance to the team with another all-guns-blazing performance. By far the most important ball carrier.

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Ulster's Marcell Coetzee with Cardiff's Josh Turnbull

Replacements

M Faddes (for Hume, 3 mins) 6: Performed well

E O’Sullivan (for McGrath, 50 mins) 5: Busy in loose

S Carter (for O’Connor, 50 mins) 5: Difficult display

A McBurney (for Andrew, 59 mins) 5: Scrum didn’t improve

N Timoney (for Reidy, 59 mins) 6: Some energy

R Kane (for O’Toole, 66 mins) 6: Did well

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