Anscombe: Scrum pushed us to victory

Ulster coach Mark Anscombe said he was proud of the way his players stormed back from defeat last week to record a rare win against Leinster.

He also praised the way his side performed at the set-pieces, where they completely dominated Leinster.

“Without a doubt our scrum was outstanding and the key to our victory while Robbie Diack came in and did a great job in the line-out.

“We lacked a bit of confidence in the opening 20 minutes, but we finally got a bit of self-belief and the confidence grew and I think we controlled the game in the end,” said Anscombe.

The Ulster coach was unhappy with the way his players kicked the ball away in the opening stages. “We kicked very badly early on. Out kicking game wasn’t what we wanted. But that got better as the game progressed with Ruan (Pienaar), who is arguably the best kicking scrum-half in the world, got his game going.

“But I was concerned about the confidence in that first half. You’ve got to have that self-belief to have a bit of purpose. That grew as the game went on and the crowd also got them going.

“Sometimes you begin to self-doubt yourself when you have a loss. You can afford to have one, but not two, not with Munster coming up!”

“But the pleasing thing is the way the boys bounced back in front of a great crowd and go into Christmas with a good performance to beat Leinster. Both teams had key people out, but I think that weighed itself out.”

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt said Ulster’s penalty try in the 38th minute gave them the momentum they needed while the Nick Williams try shortly after the restart was the big turning point of the game.

Schmidt also admitted that Ulster are now 16 points ahead of them and probably well out of their reach.

“I felt towards the end of the game we had a couple of scrums that were not too bad. But yeah, there were periods of the game where Ulster dominated and got that penalty try. That gave them confidence to go on.

“At that point it was 9-6, but prior to that they had benefited from a few decisions at the scrum and kicked those goals. But the try just after half-time that was awarded to Nick Williams was probably the turning point of the game. That try put it outside the seven-point margin.

“While aspects of the game that Ulster dominated and deserved their win I was disappointed that we did not get the bonus point we deserved.

“It is only the second time we’ve lost away by eight or nine points and not an ideal margin to lose by. ”


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