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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 19 March, 2019
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'It it doesn’t guarantee us anything' but Les Kiss pleased with Ulster display

Ulster saw off Leinster yesterday.

Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

ULSTER DIRECTOR OF RUGBY Les Kiss stopped short of lauding his side’s 30-6 defeat of Leinster yesterday at Kingspan Stadium as the best performance of his tenure to date, but insisted his players’ attitude and game management augured well for next week’s season-defining clash with the Ospreys.

The province built on a first-half penalty try with later scores from Jared Payne and Paddy Jackson, and while the contest was closer than the scoreboard suggested, Kiss took heart from how his side all but extinguished the Leinster firepower.

“There were some really good things,” he began. “Generally our complete performance through the game was pleasing. Despite the fact that it was only 10-6 (at half-time) there was something we felt was brewing and coming through for us.

“Sometimes I thought our defence was a bit passive, our scrum struggled at times, and it was really a disappointing start to the second half. But we are trying to challenge ourselves to grow in terms of our tactical game, and it’s about knowing that pressure does not come out on top of you, and knowing how to make decisions from there to get back on the front foot.”

With his side sitting in the final play-off place a single point ahead of the Scarlets, bonus-point victors over Newport-Gwent Dragons, Kiss was cautious but positive about next week’s season finale, when Ulster travel to Swansea while Wayne Pivac’s charges make the trip to Munster.

“We had the confidence to stay on top of the game today, to keep our foot on the throat. We need to now take that step into next week and prepare in a similar fashion.”

“But it doesn’t guarantee us anything next week. It’s going to become a massive game for us. Hopefully our friends down south can do a job for us, and then we look after ourselves from there.”

Looking back over his side’s somewhat erratic season, Kiss also took encouragement from their ability to regroup after adversity.

“We probably built momentum throughout the year, then played it out and suffered a dip. But what we haven’t done is shoot down – we’ve resourced ourselves and found something to bounce back again.”

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Neil Carnduff

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