McLaughlin’s happy despite no bonus point for Ulster
It may not have been a vintage performance from Ulster but a win’s a win and, for a first outing in the RaboDirect PRO12 League, it was more than acceptable to bank the points and move on.
Though Ulster pressed hard for a bonus point win, after only pulling away from battling Glasgow Warriors in the last quarter, they were content to take four points from last night’s tricky conditions to win 28-14 with tries from Darren Cave, Paul Marshall and Chris Henry being supplemented by three penalties and two conversions from Ian Humphreys.
“It’s our first game — at home — and we have to be happy,” coach Brian McLaughlin said.
“From our point of view we were happy to have the points and we’re maybe disappointed that we didn’t get the bonus but in the second half the conditions were appalling and it (the bonus) just didn’t materialise for us.
“We’re going to Aironi now (next Saturday) after a good start and we’re very positive,” McLaughlin added.
“If you were being critical, in the ‘22’ we weren’t precise enough and we probably let a couple of opportunities slip away through making the extra pass when it maybe wasn’t on.
“But the guys were trying hard to play a fluid game of rugby on a difficult night so all credit to them,” the coach added.
Singling out Ulster’s solid work at the scrums, McLaughlin praised props Paddy McAllister and Jerry Cronin for their work rate.
“Yes, you have to heap praise on the front row — they fought from the first scrum to the last,” he said.
Ulster skipper Chris Henry, who crossed the line for Ulster’s third try, chose to focus on the fact that his side have started well and can now build on their opening result.
“At times we lacked precision and as a pack we have a lot to work on but we’re definitely heading in the right direction,” he said.
“I’ve a lot of belief in this pack and we’ll give any team in this league a good run,” Henry added.
The Ospreys kicked off the Pro12 league with a comfortable 27-3 win over last season's beaten finalists Leinster at Liberty Stadium last night.
Scrum-half Rhys Webb scored the early opening try as the hosts began with pace and purpose.
Wing Hanno Dirksen was next to cross and skipper Justin Tipuric completed the try-scoring.