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Magners League: Brian McLaughlin can see a chink of light for Ulster

By Niall Crozier

Half an hour after Friday night’s full-time whistle at Ravenhill Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin looked and sounded a deeply worried man.

By lunch-time the following day, however, he had recovered sufficiently to be able to highlight causes for optimism in the wake of his side’s 16-6 Magners League defeat by Munster.

“Having studied the video I was able to take an awful lot of positives from it,” he said.

“After the match I felt we’d got nothing right, but when I sat down and looked at things properly I was able to see how close we were to winning that match.

“We didn’t lose as a result of having been outplayed; Munster didn’t outplay us. Of the two sides we looked far more likely to score until we gave them that bizarre try right at the end.

“We missed a penalty when we were 6-3 up in the first half and we missed another when we were |9-6 down in the second.

“In games as tight as that you have to put those between the posts, so those were costly.”

He also highlighted moments when he felt the rub of the green had gone in Munster’s favour.

“We were unlucky not to have scored early on when Mark McCrea would have been in from Ian Humphreys’ cross-kick if we’d got a better bounce of the ball.

“We were unlucky, too, when Pedrie (Wannenburg) charged down an Alan Quinlan kick but that just didn’t go for us either and he (Quinlan) got away with it.

“And I take encouragement from the performances of two of our youngest players, Nevin Spence and Luke Marshall who were asked to step up and proved they could.

“That means they can put pressure on Ian (Whitten) and Paddy (Wallace) who now know they have two good kids challenging for their places.

“The bottom line is that we’re in a much better place than at the same stage last year. This is a better squad, no doubt about it.

“It takes time to build a team but that is what we’re doing. I’d just ask people to be patient and realistic.”

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