Magners League: Ulster back in business, says D’arcy
Ulster full-back Adam D’Arcy has spent the past few days wondering why the wholly legitimate try he scored against Benetton Treviso on Friday night at Stadio Monigo was disallowed.
Not surprisingly, the proven injustice of that verdict continues to irritate him.
“At the time I was pretty positive I’d got it down, though I got a bit of a head knock when I was going in so I couldn’t be sure. I wasn’t 100 per cent,” the 24-year-old Australian said.
“But I looked at the footage after the game finished and I’ve looked at it a lot since then and I’m convinced it was perfectly good try.
“I honestly can’t see anything wrong with it.
“It was very similar to the try Keith Earls scored for Ireland against Argentina on Sunday — a perfectly good score but not awarded.”
He is a philosophical young man, however, so although the decision of Italian TMO Mauro Dordolo was wrong, D’Arcy is keen to move on.
“It has cost us one point — and maybe a very vital one point, though we probably won’t know that until the end of the season,” he added.
“But we can’t let that get to us. Throughout the season you get these calls; some go for you, some go against you. Hopefully we’ll get a few that go with us to balance things out.”
Yin and yang.
“The important thing is that our future is in our own hands and if we keep playing well then hopefully that lost bonus won’t have cost us anything too much,” he said.
Reflecting on Ulster’s return to winning ways following a hat-trick of competitive defeats he pointed to the benefits that have accrued from the three-week cessation in hostilities.
Since getting back to playing, Ulster have chalked up two successive highly impressive away day victories worth nine Magners League points.
“The break came at a really good time for us. It gave us a bit of time to dust down our structure and iron out our deficiencies,” D’Arcy said.
“I didn’t think we’d played that badly in the three games we lost. It was more a case of not taking our opportunities when they came.
“Then in the Cardiff game when managed to turn over their ball, we took our opportunities really well and got five tries as a result.
“Again, against Treviso, we got three tries — well, four but — because once more we took our chances.
“And hopefully that will continue on Friday night (against Dragons).”
His inclusion alongside Scottish international wing Simon Danielli and new boy wonder Craig Gilroy in each of the past two games has seen D’Arcy emerge as a confident, attacking full-back, witness a fine try in Cardiff followed by that disallowed effort in Treviso.
“The more you play in the team the more comfortable you feel,” he said. “I’ve played with Simon and Craig as the wings in those two games and I’ve been getting used to that combination. With Ian (Humphreys) at 10 and Paddy (Wallace) in the centre, the more you play with those guys the more you learn about their games and they learn about yours. That makes it easier to work together.”
But while the focus has been on Ulster’s free-scoring attack, D’Arcy feels the real foundations of their recent successes have been two largely solid defence performances.
“That has probably been the best part of our game so far this season,” he added. “We didn’t let in any tries against Treviso, and although we did concede two against Cardiff, one of those was when we had that yellow card.”
D’Arcy himself was the absentee at that moment having been harshly sin-binned after 32 minutes, for a supposedly deliberate knock-on.
“There aren’t too many attacking opportunities out there nowadays, so games are won on defence,” said D’Arcy. “It’s all about keeping that strong defensive line, which is something we have been getting right.
“Provided we continue to do that, not too many teams are going to get through us and we won’t be giving any easy tries away.”
Having endured last weekend’s heavy rain in Treviso and this week’s bitter cold in Belfast, he reckons he is learning to adapt to the climatic demands of northern hemisphere rugby.
“We’re professionals so we have to adapt to the weather, whatever it is,” he smiles.
“I was a bit cold on Friday night after half-time in Treviso, but then I didn’t change my undergarments or my jersey at half-time which was a rookie error.
“I’ve learned from that experience — I’ll definitely have the spare gear in the dressing room this time!”