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Dublin: 9°C Monday 10 May 2021
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Ratings: We mark Ulster and Munster players out of 10

The men from the North were stupendous as they hit the front and ground out a famous win

Andrew Trimble keeps his eye on the ball under pressure from Peter O'Mahony and Conor Murray
Andrew Trimble keeps his eye on the ball under pressure from Peter O'Mahony and Conor Murray
Image: ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

ULSTER:

Steffan Terblanche – 7

Set Gilroy up for his wonder try and was a solid presence at the back. Great positional sense snuffed out potential danger moments.

Andrew Trimble – 7

Tried his best for the Zebo try but had too much ground to make up. Bravely shot up on Mafi after 38 minutes to prevent a second Zebo score. Superb tackle led to a Zebo knock-on with three minutes left on the clock.

Darren Cave – 8

Took some good lines and gained yards during the second-half slog for Ulster. Fantastic shotgun tackling in the second half and came of age.

Paddy Wallace – 5

Put in a shift for his team but was anonymous as an attacker. Backed Cave up as they tackled in pairs and was committed til the last minute.

Craig Gilroy – 8

One of the tries of the season – evaded six Munster men after burning Hurley on the left wing. Looked lethal with ball in hand and had the better of his opposite number (Hurley) all afternoon.

Ian Humphreys – 7

Early shanked clearances but came to the party with an excellent drop goal from 38-metres out. Came so close to putting his team nine clear when his snap drop-goal clipped the post.

Ruan Pienaar – 8

Three monster penalties rocked Munster to the core. Poor kicking to touch and a penalty skewed right as he felt the pressure in the final stages.

Tom Court – 7

Was bloodied and battered after a tough encounter with BJ Botha. Was a demon for tackles and never shirked the imposing challenge of a Munster scrum at Thomond.

Rory Best – 7

Spilled a ball to scupper an Ulster break in the second half. Found his line-out jumpers well and was always on the look-out for more work.

John Afoa – 8

Lucky to escape the sin bin for a dump tackle on Felix Jones. Indefatigable presence and chased down red shirts from start to finish.

Johannes Muller (capt) – 7

Worked well in tandem with Tuohy. Was a calming presence as he encouraged his teammates during the Munster fightback. Fierce tackling in the loose.

Dan Tuohy – 8

Good line-out takes and pressure relieving bursts upfield. He has announced himself as a second-row of genuine class. Was still making charges around the fringes as the clock turned red.

Stephen Ferris – 8

Forced Murray knock-on when he stretched his dodgy ankle at the breakdown. Gained another when he clamped onto an isolated O’Connell. Gave away a penalty with 20 minutes on the clock thanks to a side-on tackle on Coughlan. Another outstanding performance in a remarkable season.

Chris Henry – 5

Yellow carded at a crucial time for gripping onto Zebo after the initial take down. Was eager to engage in as many forays forward when he returned but fumbled possession to cut short a promising spell of Ulster possession.

Pedrie Wannenburg – 8

Excellent tackle on Earls led to a penalty with nine minutes remaining. Lungs the size of oil barrels as he thundered about the pitch from whistle to whistle.

Replacements: N Brady, P McAllister, A Macklin, L Stevenson, W Faloon, P Marshall, N Spence, A D’Arcy

MUNSTER:

Felix Jones – 6

Will be upset that Gilroy evaded his covering defence for the first try. Good under the high ball but sloppy knock-on under no pressure to gift Ulster a late scrum near the Munster ’22.

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Denis Hurley – 5

Was left flailing for Gilroy as the winger scored his amazing try. Was a determined tackler all afternoon but was toothless as an attacking threat.

Keith Earls – 6

Skipped Jones and found Mafi to give the Tongan the chance to send Zebo over for his first-half try. Looked lively for 60 minutes but was clearly injured and stuggled in the final 20 minutes.

Lifeimi Mafi – 7

Did well to send Zebo over and dashed for vital yard gains throughout. Showed great hands to hold onto errant passes and his footwork was super as he constantly provided attacking momentum for his team.

Simon Zebo – 7

Held his position on the left wing and it paid off as he crashed over in the corner to give Munster fans hope. The ball out wide to Zebo became telegraphed later in the match as he was squeezed for space. One of the better players in red.

Ronan O’Gara – 6

Overcooked a cross-field kick to Hurley that gifted Ulster a drop-out. Was unlucky when another kick for the corner bounced over the Ulster line but botched one straight to Terblanche soon after. Great conversion and penalty to tag Ulster back at half-time.

Conor Murray – 5

Two knock-ons at the back of Munster rucks – one gifted Ulster a pressure relieving scrum 5 metres out. Improved as Munster came into the game. Wrapped up to concede turn-over ball and was replaced by O’Leary as the home side battled hard.

Wian du Preez – 6

The Munster scrum provided a solid platform and du Preez was core in that. He put his hand up for ball carrying and backed up breaks from Coughlan and O’Donnell.

Mike Sherry – 7

His line-out throwing was perfect and he was a hefty tackler and valuable scrambler at the breakdown. Replaced by Varley late on but should be content with his shift.

BJ Botha – 7

Couldn’t quite get the better of Tom Court, as many would have expected. The scrum was steady though and Botha was courageous in making a couple of big tackles on the rampaging Ulster back-row.

Donnacha Ryan – 5

Switched to back-row when O’Callaghan came on. He was outshone by his senior partner in the second-row and could not halt the Ulster tide, especially in an overwhelming first half.

Paul O’Connell – 7

Conceded penalty when Ferris got him in a vice-grip on the floor. Fantastic line-out steal from the grasp of Muller on 66 minutes. Followed it up with a bullocking drive upfield and was ragged determination personified in the closing stages.

Peter O’Mahony – 6

Was not a huge presence in the match but was dilligent and earnest until Wallace replaced him. One good break down the right wing but was mainly required in defence.

Tommy O’Donnell -5

Fine tackling on the fringes but conceded a penalty on 58 minutes when he peeled off a scrum too quickly. It gave Ulster breathing room.

James Coughlan – 8

Made a fantastic break in the second-half that led to an O’Gara three-pointer. Munster fans can not fault his performance and he was one of his side’s only sources of go-forward ball.

Replacements:

D Varley (on for Sherry on ’67) – Throwing an improvement on last week but no real impact in the loose – 5

D O’Callaghan (on for O’Donnell on ’59) – He made a real difference and scrambled and scrapped for vital ball – 7

D Wallace (on for O’Mahony on ’72) – Dived off his feet to cough up penalty that Pienaar skewed wide right – 4

T O’Leary (on for Murray on ’72) – Forced a Munster scrum in the closing stages – 6

J Murphy (on for Hurley on ’57) – Did better than Hurley and put in some crunching challenges – 6

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