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'Maybe we should just take a hard look at ourselves' - Kiss downbeat after late Bordeaux blitz

Three tries in the final eight minutes condemned Ulster to defeat in France.

Attentions will quickly turn to next weekend's clash against Exeter.
Attentions will quickly turn to next weekend's clash against Exeter.
Image: Presseye/Brian Little/INPHO

WHEN A COACH uses three adverbs to describe how disappointed he is after a defeat, you know he’s upset.

“It’s absolutely thoroughly completely disappointing,” was Les Kiss’ immediate summation of Ulster’s 28-13 defeat in Bordeaux.

You don’t blame him, he just watched his side go from four points in the lead with eight minutes to play, to leaving without even a point from the game. In terms of dramatic declines, this was high on the scale.

Sebastien Taofifenua’s thunderous shove over the line in the 72nd minute opened the floodgates, before a penalty try and a Blair Connor breakaway in the last minute confirmed Ulster’s fate.

Paddy Jackson Source: Presseye/Nicolas Tucat/INPHO

True, Ulster were defending for a lot of the second half and they probably didn’t deserve to win. But even so, this was unprecedented, and evoked a few harsh words from Kiss in the aftermath.

“Exeter (next week) was always going to be a tough proposition anyway,” he continued.

“But should we look at them next week? Maybe we should just take a hard look at ourselves.”

Preparations for Exeter, which is now a must-win, if it wasn’t already, will have to wait as the team wade through the aftermath of what is a very painful defeat to digest.

Kiss already has an idea where things went wrong and, unsurprisingly, it all starts in that second half.

“When we had a chance to relieve ourselves or get to a point of recovery from those forays on our own line, we just came up with some poor execution and poor decisions,” he says.

“There were a couple of moments, even the lineout near the side, we go down too easy and give them a chance to lock it up and go to a scrum play again.

“We work hard to get the ball back but then we don’t relieve ourselves effectively in terms of getting that kick away.

“It gave them a chance to stay in the hunt at the wrong end of the pitch and we were camped up there for maybe 30 minutes of the game in the second half.

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“It just wasn’t smart enough from us, and effective enough.”

Possibly even worse was the fact that the Ulstermen left without anything from the game, despite being four points ahead with just eight minutes to go and having a penalty in the the Bordeaux 22 when the score was 21-13.

Paul Marshall instead elected to tap and go in search of a try, a decision that ultimately ended with Connor going the length of the pitch for the Begles’ third try, and one that Kiss hopes will not prove fatal.

“In the context of competitions you’ve got to be smarter I guess,” he admitted.

“We’ve talked about what one point means and one win means in the context of our season and hopefully we’re not going to rue that later in the competiton.”

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