Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Ulster achieved objective, says Mark Anscombe

Thumbs up: Ulster skipper Johann Muller thanks the fans for their support on Friday night
Thumbs up: Ulster skipper Johann Muller thanks the fans for their support on Friday night

Ulster coach Mark Anscombe played down the fact that Leicester Tigers managed to leave Ravenhill with a bonus point despite having been outplayed in the second half of Friday night's enthralling Heineken Cup curtain-raiser.

The Kiwi preferred to stress the positives.

He said: "At the end of the day, our objective was to get four points and we achieved that. If each week that's our objective and we just stick to doing that, then we'll come through.

"If they're happy with the one, that's fine; we're happy with the four. There's only six games in this and you've got to win your home games to be there at the end of the day.

"We've won our first one so we'll enjoy that and then start thinking about our visit to France."

Captain Johann Muller admitted Ulster had struggled in the scrum before getting to grips with their English opponents and French referee Romain Poite.

"We knew that they are a really dominant first-phase type of team and to give those first three penalties and one free-kick away was really disappointing," he said.

"But we had a really good chat about it at half-time. We knew what we had to do to correct it and I thought in the second half it came right really nicely."

But he warned: "In games to come you can't afford to have a slow start like that so obviously that's big work for us ahead."

Anscombe's take on Ulster's two disallowed second-half tries – Paddy Jackson's for offside, Darren Cave's for a forward pass – was: "It's disappointing. I'd like to have a look at Jacko's one again; it might have been a fine line, but it was a tight one.

"From the angle I was on it was hard to tell but I'd like to see that again.

"Cavey's was just that little execution, that one pass, that's been hurting us. But we'll just keep working on them and sooner or later they'll start sticking."

And with Jackson having followed his performance against Ospreys with another top-notch outing, Anscombe said: "We know what he's capable of and we've been saying for the last six months that we, as a team, have all the confidence in the world in him.

"He's only human and we don't expect A grade performances week in, week out. He started the season off slowly but he's hitting his straps at the right time. He's going to be a very good fly-half."

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