Dan McFarland thrilled by Ulster's workrate 

Leinster boss Leo Cullen blamed his side’s inaccuracy for their first loss of the season but said it would serve as a reality check ahead of a tough block of games that sees them play Connacht next Friday night before a Heineken Champions Cup opener in France against Montpellier.
Dan McFarland thrilled by Ulster's workrate 

Ulster players celebrate at the end of the game

Dan McFarland praised his side’s guts and physicality as Ulster celebrated a first win over Leinster at the RDS since 2013 in Dublin on Saturday night.

Ulster delivered Leinster’s first defeat of the season in this United Rugby Championship round-six contest to draw level with their Irish rivals at the top of the table, only separated by Leinster’s superior points difference.

The northern province had led 10-0 eight minutes into the second half thanks to a Greg Jones try converted by John Cooney on 16 minutes and Cooney penalty just after the break. Yet Ulster needed a late penalty from Cooney’s replacement Nathan Doak and an intercept try from man of the match James Hume to fend off a Leinster comeback after Robbie Henshaw try and a conversion and penalty from Ross Byrne had levelled the scores by the 64th minute.

“I think there are a few happy people in the changing room there,” Ulster head coach McFarland told RTÉ after the match. ”It’s always really difficult when you come up to the RDS and play Leinster and Ulster haven’t won up here for a long time and that’s in most part due to the quality of the Leinster team. I was really proud to be a part of the lads’ achievement this evening, so very happy.” 

Ulster captain Alan O’Connor had in a pre-match interview given a one-word answer, “physicality,” when asked what the visitors needed to bring to this match to overcome Leinster and McFarland added post-match: “You ask Alan that question, at any point he would always answer ‘physicality’ but it needed more than that. It needed hard work in defence, it needed being able to hold onto the ball in that first half when Leinster’s defence was pretty impregnable and we managed to get our score but potentially we should have had more. And it also needed a lot of guts in that third quarter when things weren’t quite going our way, to be able to turn it around after they scored and fight back.” 

Leinster boss Leo Cullen blamed his side’s inaccuracy for their first loss of the season but said it would serve as a reality check ahead of a tough block of games that sees them play Connacht next Friday night before a Heineken Champions Cup opener in France against Montpellier.

“Ulster I thought played well,” Cullen said. “Right from the very start they kicked off and we found it difficult to get out of (our) end. We were defending a lot and Ulster kept the ball and we just probably weren’t accurate enough with some of our exits as well, which just put more pressure on ourselves.

“They got in for their try and we lacked a bit of cohesion really in terms of chasing the game, a little bit frantic at various different stages and gave away too many penalties as well. So across the board, we unfortunately weren’t good enough, which is a good kick in the arse for us as well. We’ve got a huge block of games now so lots to reflect upon but over the course of the game we just weren’t good enough unfortunately.” 

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