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Ulster players ratings: Treadwell and Murphy lead the way in agonising European defeat to Leinster

Ulster's Kieran Treadwell celebrates scoring his side's first try as the visitors got off to a flying start at the Aviva.
Ulster's Kieran Treadwell celebrates scoring his side's first try as the visitors got off to a flying start at the Aviva.

Ulster came within a whisker of booking a European Champions Cup semi-final spot as they were beaten 21-18 by Leinster on Saturday evening.

It was a performance that united the travelling support in pride. So what were the match ratings?

Here's our take on the inidividual performances:

Starting XV

Michael Lowry 6: Looked as if he could ignite something and thought he had scored in the first half. Couldn’t stop Conan’s charge and a few other errors.

Robert Baloucoune 7: Made one vital tackle on opposite number Dave Kearney when a score looked on, though there were aerial spills and also some missed tackles.

Darren Cave 7: Bloodied but determined not to give ground, he was the focal point of Ulster’s defensive line-speed. Fourteen tackles was a good return.

Stuart McCloskey 7: More than just carrying (12) and tackling (16) as one subtle low chip nearly put Baloucoune away. Had one ball ripped off him by O’Loughlin.

Jacob Stockdale 6: Metres away from his epic try last November, the unthinkable happened. Dot it down and it looked over. Terrific in air, but missed tackles too.

Billy Burns 7: Looked assured with some crisp passing if not entirely successful kicks. This was more like the level of consistency required to run a game.

John Cooney 8: Gave it back in spades to his home province. Super-motivated, he was badly cramping at the end. Inexplicably missed a key conversion.

Eric O’Sullivan 6: Back home and up for this. Seventeen tackles but bad miss on Conan led to Leinster’s second try and Furlong got traction at set-piece time.

Rory Best 6: Lasted only 15 minutes but had won a turnover, charged down Ringrose for Treadwell’s try and carried with intent. We’ll forgive the lost lineout.

Marty Moore 7: Another Leinster exile. Made 17 tackles, including an important one on O’Brien as Leinster looked to score at the end of the first half.

Iain Henderson 8: Couldn’t have been entirely fit but was still able to make ground. Took over as skipper. Made 22 tackles but looked utterly spent near the end.

Kieran Treadwell 9: A surprise selection, he repaid that call and then some. Early try helped but from then on he was immense with tackles, carries and lineout steals.

Nick Timoney 7: Less prominent member of the tearaway trio, still contributed over 20 tackles and supported his fellow back-rowers in taking Leinster to the wire.

Jordi Murphy 9: His best game for Ulster? Easily. Got in his former team-mates’ faces with 17 carries and 24 tackles. One hit on Cronin had to be made and nailed him.

Marcell Coetzee 8: Ulster had to have him on the field and he was willing and able to hit it up and defend with gusto. Unfortunately, couldn’t go the distance.

Replacements

Rob Herring (Best 15) 8: Ulster’s top tackler on 25

Sean Reidy (Coetzee 51) 7: Good defensive work

Wiehahn Herbst (Moore 55) 6: Final game for Ulster

Luke Marshall (Cave 62) 7: Try after nearly a year out

Andy Warwick (O’Sullivan 72) 6: Five tackles

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