'It's not football, you can't have boys diving all over the place' -- Rory Best on Matawalu dive

‘A man must have a code’.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

ULSTER CAPTAIN RORY Best could not contain his anger at the performance of Glasgow wing Niko Matawalu’s after tonight’s 16 – 14 Pro12 semi-final defeat in Scotstoun.

The Fijian, in the eyes of many, was guilty of a number of theatrical reactions to contact with Ulster players. A final dive, after being collared by Ricky Lutton, convinced the TMO to award a penalty that forced Ulster on to the back foot when they still held a lead late on.

“To have that penalty at the end that they got out their own half with, that was a bit of a weird one really,” Best told Sky Sports post-match.

“Obviously our prop shouldn’t have touched him, but at the same time, it’s not football, you can’t have boys diving all over the place trying to milk penalties.

“At this stage of the season it’s such a big moment in the game, that was our scrum, we were dominant and we felt we could have got a penalty to win the game. It wasn’t to be – we were silly, we probably should have let him go – but come on.

“Are you telling me that threw him to the ground?”

The Fijian showed off the more attractive parts of his game late on, executing a sublime behind the back offload that eventually led to DTH van der Merwe’s try before Finn Russell’s resulting conversion sealed victory.

It was a tough pill to swallow for an Ulster team that looked comfortable at times in a ferocious contest.

Off the pedal

“It’s bitterly disappointing to have lost that game, a game we thought we dominated and had many opportunities to win it,” said the hooker.

“We just took our foot off the pedal a little bit [in the second half]. We probably tried to play a little bit in our own half.

“They were good, but at the same time we have to be a lot better than that. that’s the disappointing thing, to have come here and put himself in the perfect position – I think when we look back at that, we didn’t play anywhere near our best.”

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Sean Farrell

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