Ulster player ratings

We rate the Ulster team after a thrilling match against Exeter in the Champions Cup

Ulster player ratings

Charles Piutau. Image: INPHO

Although Ulster fell to a 31-19 defeat, their match against Exeter was end-to-end action and both teams should be applauded for how they approached the game.

Here's how we rated for Les Kiss's men:


Louis Ludik - 7

Embraced the open nature of the game where possible. Lovely swivel and turn in defence when under pressure in the first half.


Charles Piutau - 8

Quiet start to the match but grew into the game. Seemed to be double-marked whenever he got the ball yet managed to score two tries and nearly created another. It's a pity a player of his quality will miss the knock-out phases. Was caught out by Nowell for one of Exeter's tries though. 

 Charles Piutau scores for Ulster. Image: INPHO

Luke Marshall - 7

Played his part in a fluid Ulster back-line but was overshadowed by those around him.


Stuart McCloskey - 7

Brilliant break and offload to set up the first try and was a battering ram throughout. 


Andrew Trimble - 7 

Took some super running lines during the match and won a valuable turnover in the first half when Ulster were under the pump.


Paddy Jackson - 7

Ran the team competently and attacked the line constantly. Perfect cross-field kick set up Piutau for a try. Gambled with a deliberate knock-on and was punished with a yellow card and a penalty try.


 Paddy Jackson takes a shot at goal. Image: INPHO

Dave Shanahan - 8

Outstanding debut for the youngster. Looked like he had been playing at this level for years. Plenty of sniping runs in a composed display. Has a big future ahead of him if he keeps playing like that. 


Callum Black - 7

Played his part in a relatively solid Ulster scrum.


Rory Best - 7

Although not the team captain, he led by example. Even when 31-19 down, he kept calm and tried to engineer an improbable win. 


Ross Kane - 7

Scrummaged well but was replaced early due to injury.


Kieran Treadwell - 7

Industrious display and made a fantastic tackle on the wing when Exeter threatened a break-away score in the first half.  


Peter Browne - 7

Carried well around the field and did the unseen work.


Iain Henderson - 7

Slightly subdued compared to his usual self but still got through a fair amount of work.


Chris Henry - 7

Quiet enough display from the Ireland international and is unlikely to force his way into Joe Schmidt's 6 Nations squad now.


Sean Reidy - 8

Ran a brilliant support line to get the scoring going tonight and got stuck in whenever he could.

 Reidy gets in for Ulster's first try. Image: INPHO

Bench - 7

Those who came on were unable to turn the tide when Ulster's Champions Cup campaign needed a boost at its most desperate moment.