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Ulster v Munster ratings: McCloskey pushes claim for Ireland spot as five-try hosts hit top form

Ulster's John Cooney goes over for his try against Munster on Friday night (INPHO/Laszlo Geczo)
Ulster's John Cooney goes over for his try against Munster on Friday night (INPHO/Laszlo Geczo)

By Michael Sadlier

Ulster were once again at their sensational best against Munster, running in five tries in a 38-17 bonus-point win over their interprovincial rivals at Kingspan Stadium.

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After a big performance at centre, Stuart McCloskey was named man of the match, but who else put forward their claims for a place in the team to face Clermont next week?

Here, Michael Sadlier gives his thoughts on how each player performed.

Starting XV

Will Addison - 7

Put in a neat grubber through and then dropped the ball with a scoring chance on. Another who looked up for it and ended the game at out-half.

Robert Baloucoune - 7

Again looked sharp and swift and was rewarded with a first half try after just missing an earlier chance. Was always a danger whenever near the ball.

Luke Marshall - 7

Gave Baloucoune the assist and was hit very hard for his troubles. Kept doing what he does so well until being replaced in the 63rd minute.

Stuart McCloskey - 8

As usual he was aggressive and direct. There was one surge to the line but won’t be happy at Daly’s score. Did really well for the bonus score.

Jacob Stockdale - 8

Made the break for Cooney’s try and wanted badly to get in on the action and did so with his first Ulster try since last January.

Billy Burns - 7

One cross-kick nearly put Baloucoune in and had to take a few dodgy enough passes. Always eager to run he left the action in the second half.

John Cooney - 9

Ran the show early on in what was billed as a head-to-head with Murray. Made all his kicks, scored a try and played a bit at out-half.

Jack McGrath - 7

Made an early break but failed to find Cooney and the scrums settled down. The pack got firmly on top in the second half and he did well.

Rob Herring - 7

Some of the lineouts were awry, which was a worry as Ulster’s set-pieces weren’t quite on the money. Still the work-rate was up there.

Marty Moore - 7

Secured an early penalty and went about his business with the usual directness. Looks such a threat in the tackle zone for Ulster.

Alan O’Connor - 7

Early tackle won a penalty and then he secured a vital lineout which ultimately led to the second try. Was penalised again for some back-chat though.

Iain Henderson - 8

The skipper made 12 carries and 12 tackles on his return to the side. Made one typically barn-storming drive to the Munster line which helped create a score.

Matthew Rea - 7

Will be disappointed that Daly got through him for an early try and then did what he could to get Ulster going and was rewarded with a try.

Sean Reidy - 8

Got through his normal high work-rate against a strong Munster back-row and ran himself into the ground until he was replaced.

Nick Timoney - 8

There were a few issues at the base of the scrum but he battled through it and kept going and helped win the penalty for the bonus score.

Replacements

John Andrew (for Herring, 72 mins) - 6

His recall wasn’t long but was useful

Kyle McCall (for McGrath, 62 mins) - 5

Had a few rumbles but then was yellow-carded

Tom O'Toole (for Moore, 58 mins) - 6

Put in a notable work-rate as usual

Dave O'Connor (for A O’Connor, 66 mins) - 6

Grafted away in the O’Connor style

Greg Jones (for Reidy, 70 mins) - 6

Helped see the game out

Dave Shanahan (for Burns, 62 mins) - 6

Will have enjoyed this win

Angus Kernohan (for Cooney, 73 mins) - 6

A rare showing and did well

Craig Gilroy (for Marshall, 63 mins) - 6

Tried hard to get some runs

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