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Brian McLaughlin stunned by high penalty count

By Niall Crozier

Brian McLaughlin was in a bad mood following his side's 32-14 mauling by Ospreys.

"We made a great start and even at 12-7 at half-time we were in good shape, we all thought," the Ulster coach said.

But he felt the penalty count against his side is going to have to be examined closely as referee Dudley Phillips' repeated penalisation of the Ulster forwards played a huge part in yesterday afternoon's heavy defeat.

A clearly angry McLaughlin said: "We need to look at the match footage again.

"I think the penalty count was 22-7 against us.

"In other words, we gave away more penalties today than in all our other league games so far this season put together."

Asked what the referee had said in the course of several on-field conversations with captain Chris Henry, the Ulster coach explained: "He was talking yellow cards.

"There seemed to be a bit of a problem at scrum time.

"Early on in the game they were penalised twice for scrum infringements and then they weren't penalised again until the last minute," he said.

"I think there's definitely something wrong there, but I really can't comment any further on that until I've had a good look at the match footage.

"We certainly thought that penalty count against us was a bit over the top so we'll have a look at it and make a more informed approach once we've done that."

Although disappointed to lose the game, McLaughlin felt there were some positives to bring back home. "There were a lot of young guys out there and that will have been an experience for them," he added. "There are good days and bad days when you play and for most of them so far there have been a lot more good days than bad.

"This will have been a very steep learning experience. When you come to a place like this, you've got to be squeaky clean with your discipline, organised with the ball, put it in the right areas of the pitch and make sure you put a team like Ospreys under pressure.

"You can't allow yourself to get blown away in and around the contact areas. Those were the areas where we were guilty of under-achieving tonight."

Highlighting Paddy Jackson's contribution he added: "He scored a fantastic, top-drawer try against a side who are always a very aggressive, defending team. To play against that and learn from it will be great experience for him."

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