David Humphreys made no excuses for Ulster’s heavy defeat at Rodney Parade yesterday.
Ulster Rugby’s Operations Director did not attempt to gloss over the disappointing nature of the losing start to the new Magners League campaign.
“We just didn’t turn up. We didn’t play. It wasn’t good enough; the players know that and we know that,” he said.
“We didn’t show the same fight and determination as we had in training and in pre-season. We were all very pleased with how well that went, but here we didn’t do it.
“I think the players now understand the difference between competitive and friendly rugby. They aren’t the same and the players now know that.
“We didn’t deal with Newport’s physicality. We didn’t handle what was happening and that was a big problem.
“We’re all very disappointed, largely because we know we didn’t do it on the day. Now we have to look at things, start preparing for next Saturday’s match against Ospreys in Swansea and move on.
“While we’re disappointed, though, this isn’t a catastrophe. We always knew we would lose matches in the Magners League. It’s a tough competition in which everybody fights very hard to take what they can from it.
“At full strength, Munster, Leinster and Ospreys clearly are the top teams in the league and even they haven’t had it all their own way this weekend. This year, with fourth place being so important under the new format, everybody else will be thinking they can take that and qualify for the play-offs.
“We know what is required; we have to play to our maximum and against Newport we didn’t.
“We had a lot of possession and territory, especially early on. I haven’t had a chance to examine the statistics yet but I’d be very keen to see what exactly they say,” he added.