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Dublin: 9°C Monday 26 October 2020
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Pro12: Team of the week

Two defeats and squeaky wins for Leinster and Ulster but some players shone through the morass.

Ulster's Roger Wilson tackles Brendan Williams of Treviso.
Ulster's Roger Wilson tackles Brendan Williams of Treviso.
Image: ©INPHO/Matteo Ciambelli

15. Isa Nacewa

Playing at a different level from most of his teammates and not for the first time. Along with Brendan Macken, and the occasional flash from Dave Kearney, Nacewa was the only back to run good lines and threaten the tryline. Harsh on Ulster’s Peter Nelson, who scored the only try in Italy, but the Leinster man was the best player on show in Glasgow.

14. Andrew Trimble

Must have been tough to pack his bags at Irish camp and fly out for an away day in Italy but Trimble performed manfully. He linked up well with Jared Payne more than once and was strong in defence as Ulster held on for win number 11. Dave Kearney was lively in the first half of Leinster’s win but was bitten by the knock-on bug as the game progressed/regressed on a rainy night.

13. Brendan Macken

Showed good feet to jink inside two Glasgow players but was just held up short of the tryline in the first-half. Chased up-and-unders and grubbers with commitment and his defence was strong when called upon. Jared Payne was good at outside centre for Ulster but he will be happy to resume fullback duties once the Irish internationals return.

12. Dave McSharry

McSharry has come on encouragingly well this season and was Connacht’s best attacker during a bright 30-minute opening. Was one of several westerners to defend heroically when Connacht were reduced to 13 men. Paddy Wallace was the best of the rest but he never came close to replicating his try against Zebre last week.

11. Luke O’Dea

O’Dea has a wealth of promise an attacking capabilities but he had limited opportunities in a rain-soaked Musgrave Park. The glimpses he showed put his team on the front foot. Made a couple of first-half incisions down the left flank and chipped behind the Scarlets defence smartly as the pressed but the Munster forwards, surprisingly, did not press home the advantage. Michael Allen, another Ulster back, pushed him close but was cramped out of attacking space for long periods by Treviso.

10. Niall O’Connor

Recalled from Connacht in the summer, O’Connor has been given little chance to prove his worth due to the form of Ruan Pienaar and Paddy Jackson. The out-half was the match-winner for Ulster against Zebre last week and kicked 11 points for his side in a narrow win. Kicking conditions in Italy were less than ideal – Alberto di Bernardo proved that by missing two late penalties.

9. Isaac Boss

While we would never suggest that he should be ahead of the 23-year-old in the international pecking order, Conor Murray would do well to study Boss’ judicious use of box kicks and snipes. Provided an attacking impetus for his side in a sloppy match. Ulster’s Paul Marshall pushes Boss close for his quick-thinking to set Nelson’s try in motion.

Isaac Boss kept Leinster ticking in the Scotstoun quagmire. (©INPHO/Huw Evans)

1. Denis Buckley

The Roscommon native missed most of October with injury after a positive start to the season but is back up to speed and doing a fine job up front for Connacht. Caused Dragons’ Dan Way some problems at the scrum and put his body in where it hurt as the home side looked to press home a two-man advantage in the first half.

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2. Rob Herring

The South African made his first start of the season for Ulster and consistently found his lineout jumpers. Carried for hard yards and won a crucial defensive turnover as his team battled back from a half-time deficit. Mike Sherry was useful in open play for Munster but was part of a front row that constantly ceded ground to Scarlets on Sunday.

3. Declan Fitzpatrick

His training ground concussion in Ireland camp saw him sent back to Belfast and ruled him out of the November Series but he showed no ill effects in a dogged away win for. The Ulster back by no means dominated but Fitzpatrick held up his end and gained a pressure relieving penalty as the Italians tried to mount a comeback.

4. Leo Cullen

The Leinster lineout was hardly a thing of beauty in Glasgow but Cullen’s main contribution came in the loose as he rolled his sleeves up to secure vital ball. His handling in heavy rain was better than most and he organised the pack in the closing stages as the blues clinched a win.

5. Neil McComb

Apart from flashes from Connacht in Wales, the Ulster pack was the best of Irish this weekend and McComb played a key part in that. His tackle count was in double figures and he exerted his influence early and carried well in the second-half as Ulster edged in front of Treviso. Great Movember moustache too!

6. Dave O’Callaghan

The Munster pack came off second-best but O’Callaghan was the pick of their back row – although CJ Stander played well as a sub – and gave everything to what turned out to be a losing cause. Made two carries for 10-metres plus as Munster marched upfield, and the scores tied at 3-3, against driving win and rain in the second-half.

O’Callaghan – pictured here against Aberavon – put in a good shift for Munster. (©INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan)

7. Mike McComish

McComish has been on the fringes this season due to the outstanding form of Chris Henry but he is the consummate squad player. Brilliant work at the breakdown and tackled ferociously in the final 20 minutes as Ulster maintained their unbeaten run.

8. Roger Wilson

Ulster’s fifth captain of the season, Wilson was immense for his side and, on his watch, kept the unbeaten run going. Led from the front by making some good breaks from the back of the scrum and tackled well in tandem with Nick Williams. Sean O’Brien was one of Leinster’s better performers and set up Nacewa well for a second-half tilt at the tryline but is still working back to match fitness.

*Do you agree with our selections? Let us know what you think.

As it happened: Munster v Scarlets, RaboDirect Pro12

As it happened: Glasgow Warriors v Leinster, RaboDirect Pro12

About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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