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Ulster player ratings vs Leinster | 2023/24 URC quarter-finals

By Neil Fissler
John Cooney of Ulster after his side's defeat in the United Rugby Championship quarter-final match between Leinster and Ulster at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ulster player ratings: Richie Murphy’s men failed to execute when they held the upper hand in the opening quarter in Dublin and then imploded against a clinical Leinster side.

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Here’s how we rated the Ulster players:

Eric O’Sullivan – 4.5 
Wouldn’t have enjoyed the lack of scrums in the first half, and was hooked ten minutes after the break was disappointing.

2. Rob Herring – 6
His throwing was on point overall, and he worked hard around the park. He should have won a penalty try when Caelin Doris pulled down a maul.

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3. Tom O’Toole 6
Didn’t let his side down win the scrum and was a willing worker in the trenches where he was needed to help stem the flow.

4. Harry Sheridan – 6
Rolled up his sleeves, especially in defence making 17 tackles and making a useful contribution when needed to carry the ball.

5. Cormac Izuchukwu – 5
Looked to just be warming up for a big game with some nice hands and a carry when he was forced off the pitch after just 16 minutes.

6. Matty Rea – 6
Looked to carry the ball into the heart of the action and did more than his fair share of work in defence. A willing tackler.

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7. David McCann 6.5
Tackled like his life depended on it and was very aggressive, breaking the line three times and took full advantage of no marking for the first try.

8. Nick Timoney – 6.5
A powerful running performance and did most of the donkey work with the ball. Was needed a first-half try when Ulster were on top.

9. John Cooney – 6 
Looked to play to his strengths of putting the ball in the air, and his kicking was generally spot-on, causing anxious moments but not enough, though.

10. Billy Burns – 5.5
This is the last time he will be seen in an Ulster shirt. He was very strategic with his kicking, looking to keep his side on the front foot.

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11. Jacob Stockdale – 5.5
He had his afternoon cut short when he was clattered by Moore’s hip. He worked hard, but on the downside, he turned over four times.

12. Stuart McCloskey 5.5
Has enjoyed another very consistent season and was happy to get up in the face of the opposition and did some useful carrying work.

13. Will Addison – 5
Another departing player but enjoyed some success with the ball in hand but needed to survive an official review to avoid a yellow card for a high tackle.

14. Mike Lowry – 5.5
He was a willing runner but only had limited chances to gallop in the open field and finished well to score his side’s third try.

15. Stewart Moore – 2.5
Endured a nightmare despite scoring Ulster’s second try but was twice embarrassed for both James Lowes’ scores. Missed a tackle for the first try and turned over four times.

Replacements: 

16. Tom Stewart – 4
Like Wilson was on the pitch for long enough to get involved after only coming on for the final 12 minutes

17. Andy Warwick – 5
He got into the game early in the second half and did what needed to be done. I will be happy with his contribution.

18. Scott Wilson – 4
Another late replacement in the front row, but it wasn’t long enough for him to have an impact on the game.

19. Greg Jones – 6.5
Hasn’t played a lot of games but was in the thick of the action from the start. He tackled well, but a knock-on cost his side a try.

20. Dave Ewers – 4
His last appearance in an Ulster was nothing more than a cameo with the already lost by the time he was on the pitch.

21. Nathan Doak – 4.5
A big game player who will be needed next season with Burns leaving. He only got 24 minutes, but get his hands on the ball a couple of times.

22. Ethan McIlroy – 4.5
Got his chance when Stockdale’s head lost an argument with Moore’s  head and was on the few Ulster players to make a break

23. Jude Postlethwaite – 3
Came on for Addison but didn’t have enough time on the pitch to grab any attention.

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M
Mzilikazi 2 hours ago
Is Ireland versus South Africa a battle for the title of ‘world champions’?

Very good article, Nic, and I find agreement with what you write virtually 100%. I think this two mach series has increasingly become one which will be very difficult for Ireland to win. After the first game of the last 6N, I would have been very full of confidence taking on the Boks in SA. France beaten by a big margin in France, it looked as if Ireland had emerged in fine form from the World Cup, despite the very narrow loss to the AB’s. But after that game, a slide began, ending with the defeat to England. Ireland were very fortunate to win this years 6N ! And as you so fully expose, this has not been a good season for Leinster, or indeed, in my view, for any Irish province. The Leinster loos to the Bulls, and then Munster letting a glorious chance slip to the Glasgow Warriors down at Thomond. Man, that one will really hurt. And both Connacht and Ulster have at times looked very poor this seaso, bith heavily beaten on occassion. The loss of both Gibson Park and Keenan are huge blows, especially Gibson Park. And there is really only one clear class 10 in the touring party, Jack Crowley, and he is still a very young player learning his trade. If he goes down, heaven help Ireland. And in my view, Ireland do not have a good scrummaging front row, SA do, and in great depth too. But despite all this doom and gloom, I always believe my team can win. Not that they will win, just can ! Ireland will still field what is the best and most talented team overall that I have seen in my lifetime. But the coaching group will really have to step up, no awful decisions like the one made against the AB’s in the QF….keeping the totally spent and poorly performing(on the day) Sexton on for the full 80mins, leaving Crowley on the sidelines. Ireland should never have lost that game !

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S
Shaylen 4 hours ago
Is Ireland versus South Africa a battle for the title of ‘world champions’?

Ireland have all the tools required to hurt SA. They develop quick ball, hold onto the ball for long periods, stretch the game when its on, have powerful mobile forwards, a good kicking game and they can hold their own in the scrum. They also can force turnovers regularly and in general do well at the breakdown. When Munster, the Ospreys and Glasgow all won games in SA this year against the Bulls and Stormers they did just that and won. It is also the reason why Ireland won the game at the world cup last year. The problem for Ireland is that SA have all the tools required to hurt them as well and hurt them a great deal more than England did in the Six Nations. They are physical and powerful at the set piece, they rush up and counter the Irish attacking system and they can really attack the breakdown and slow your ball down. Their counterattacking threat is also a big weapon and they score many tries from turnover turning defence into offence in a second. Toulouse and the Bulls nailed Leinster in this way and Glasgow did the same thing to Munster. So the series will be really interesting because both sides are so good at countering each other. Interested to see what kind of surprises Tony Brown springs and how the SA game develops. Feel like SA have more potential to surprise Ireland but then a new coaching set up as well as the fact that Japanese and foreign based players tend to take about 5 to 6 weeks to get up to speed might work in Irelands favour. SA have shipped at least one game in 4 of the last 5 June/July test windows going back to 2018 for this exact reason.

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