Robert Baloucoune, Nathan Doak and Steven Kitshoff celebrate after Sunday's win against Montpellier. Dave Winter/INPHO

'We've a lot of work to do': Murphy targets Ulster improvement for Clermont quarter-final

After picking up his first win with Ulster, Murphy is eyeing a shot at the Champions Cup semi-finals.

ULSTER INTERIM HEAD coach Richie Murphy admitted that the province have much to do ahead of their European Challenge Cup quarter-final at Clermont.

“We definitely weren’t at our best,” Murphy admitted after Sunday’s 40-17 win over Montpellier, his first win since taking over at turmoil-hit Ulster.

“That is a little disappointing, but we also showed some good character in the second half to try and get us back in the game.

Montpellier’s discipline disintegrated in the second half, with Paul Willemse’s red card followed later by the sin-binning of Florian Verhaeghe and Vano Karkadze which had the hosts down to 12.

“Some of that was helped by a red card and a couple of yellows,” Murphy admitted, “but when that did happen, we managed to put enough good phases together to try and see the game out which was pleasing.

“We’ve a lot of work to do.”

Ulster chalked up six tries – five in the second half with a penalty try ending the contest – though it was not a convincingly cohesive performance from the Irish side and largely hinged wearing Montpellier down after the hosts were undone by their own ill-discipline.

“We’d a couple of decisions over whether to kick the corner or go for the points, to take a scrum or a tap penalty,” said Murphy of some of Ulster’s work during the game.

“We needed to be better at keeping everyone on the same page, working together to find the solutions.

“We forced things a little, but once we got ahead, I thought we finished the game pretty well.

“We showed some good character to stick together and get the win.

“It’s knockout rugby, it’s about winning games,” he added.

“In this competition, we don’t need anything else bar a win at the end of the day.

“In my time, I’ve only been here two weeks, we hadn’t won yet (so), in that regard, I’m really happy to get my first victory.

“We’ll look back at it because we need to be better in our decision-making elements and some of our ability to look after the ball.

“If we can fix those going into Clermont, we’ll have a great chance over there,” stated Murphy

Michael Sadlier
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