Dan McFarland: 'They were better than us in most aspects of the game'

The Ulster coach accepted that Munster deserved their 24-17 win in Belfast tonight.

Ulster players dejected at the final whistle.
Ulster players dejected at the final whistle.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

DAN MCFARLAND ADMITTED his Ulster team got what they deserved tonight after they were outplayed by Munster in their own backyard.

Tries from Stephen Archer and Keith Earls plus five kicks from Joey Carbery helped Munster secure a 24-17 win. Ulster were flat, the after-effects of last weekend’s defeat to Toulouse, leaving emotional scars.

“They were better than us in most aspects of the game other than the maul or the scrum,” said McFarland. “They defended very well.

“Their attack was pretty good, I don’t think we defended very well or that we attacked very well. We were looking for ways to score and that was mainly through winning penalties, getting into the corner and driving them over.  

“We were pretty effective in hurting them in those areas but you cannot rely on that in a game.

“We lost one lineout. They defended that very well. These things happen.

“Defensively they stopped us. We have not been scoring tries in the opposition 22 at a high enough rate for a number of weeks now. That is certainly an area we need to improve in because we are doing a pretty good job in stopping the opposition getting into our 22, but all the games we have lost this year, we have been ineffective in the opposition 22.”

The implications for Ulster could be severe. The value of a home quarter-final and home semi-final has been seen since the play-offs were introduced. Ulster are now fourth and face fifth-placed Edinburgh away next weekend.

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“It is no longer in our control finishing in the top two,” said McFarland. “We have got to go out and win the last two games and hope that other teams do us favours. We are desperately keen to finish in the top four. It means winning the last two games. I always thought, coming into the last three games, we needed to win out and we have not done that.

“Winning the last two games is obviously really important.”

Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey added: “It is still all to play for, definitely the top four and also the top two.

“We have lacked a wee bit of consistency in the last four weeks; we have to stay focused the whole time and stay in the game when it is not going your way. The atmosphere in the dressing room right now is not great but we will have a couple of days off and we will realise we are not in too bad a position.”

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Garry Doyle

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