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Sunday 29 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
Billy Stickland/INPHO
# Northern Exposure
'We were error-ridden, to tell you the truth' -- Les Kiss
Defensive lapses gave Ulster a mountain to climb at the RDS yesterday.

IT WAS A night when both coaches would have left the RDS unhappy, but Leo Cullen at least had a win to point to.

Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss on the other hand…

“Where do I start? And where would I finish,” said the Australian when asked what went wrong for his side.

Leinster held their neighbours to the north scoreless for 77 minutes, ran in two first-half tries off first phase set-plays with barely a hand put on the strike-runner and touched down a third two minutes into the second half.

And yet, Ulster had chances to stay in touch. A combination of strong wind and a weak contact forced a Ruan Pienaar penalty wide, and only Tommy Bowe knows how he managed to fluff his lines when a Sean O’Brien error looked like gifting him a try.

“Hat’s off to them, at home they’re tough,” said Kiss, still digesting the defeat.

Les Kiss with Ruan Pienaar Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

“They were very clinical when their opportunities came. And we were error-ridden, to tell you the truth in that first half. And even in the second half when we had a fair bit of possession, when we did break them they scrambled well and we just weren’t clinical enough.”

Though the second half witnessed a greatly improved Ulster effort, the visitors still lacked a confidence and cutting edge in attack. Despite dominating territory and possession and Leinster losing Jack McGrath to the sin-bin, the hosts always looked like they would have enough jerseys to cover their base.

The damage from the first-half line-breaks was irreparable.

When they made a couple of breaks (first-half) they were clinical and we were a little bit soft and should have closed it off.

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“Then a good kick-off, we get the break and Tommy drops the ball. Things just didn’t go our way, but we didn’t help ourselves. Without a doubt it was disappointing.

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