Ulster identify replacement for out-half Christian Leali’ifano

Amid the carnage of heavy defeat at the RDS on Saturday evening, Les Kiss was at least able to offer some good news.

A new out-half.

With Christian Leali’ifano returning to Australia in another fortnight, Ulster needed a new man in the cockpit, and Kiss confirmed that they had found one. Who he was is being left unsaid for now. It will be an overseas player though. And the fine print, it appears, has been agreed. Kiss said last month that it would be a challenge to find a 10 of note to fit the bill required at this stage of the season and they will be doing well to duplicate the pup that was the recruitment of Leali’ifano.

“Christian has two more games and he’s done a really good job,” said Kiss. “There’s no doubting what he’s done for Pete Nelson, Brett Herron, and Johnny McPhillips. He’s been a good influence on those young guys.”

Leali’ifano will wrap up his time with Ulster after the two European games to come, against La Rochelle and Wasps, but he could do nothing to prevent his last Guinness PRO14 appearance from ending in misery.

Swamped by a quick and fierce Leinster defence, Ulster missed 23 tackles — one in four — and saw their line broken 10 times by a side light years ahead of them in execution.

Kiss felt the scoreline wasn’t so much an accurate reflection of the relative standards of these sides so much as the inconsistencies which continued to dog his team through the holiday period.

“If you’re going to give the ball that much to an opposition who’ll make you work hard to get it back, then you’re not going to survive,” said Kiss. “We talked about that error rate on both sides of the ball and that it wasn’t good enough. We couldn’t sustain pressure and unfortunately Leinster made us pay.

“It’s important now that we focus quickly on what we have to do next week and that’s La Rochelle in the European Cup. We’re in with a good chance there if we can respond and deliver.”

If. There’s always seems to be an ‘if’ with Ulster.

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