Belfast Telegraph

Dan Tuohy's not in mood for any more Welsh woe or penalty pain

The plan for tomorrow is pretty much in place; Dan Tuohy will fly to south Wales and then after his evening’s shift at Rodney Parade, he is heading across the Severn and down home to Weston-Super-Mare to spend the weekend.

It seems perfectly straightforward except that the mood for Tuohy’s journey to Somerset will be entirely dictated by how the 80 minutes against the Dragons have panned out.

Win and all will be fine; lose for a second time in a week to Welsh opposition and, well, best not to linger on that outcome or imagine how his weekend might go.

Even several days after Sunday’s 32-14 defeat at the Ospreys, the rawness of Ulster’s first PRO12 League reverse, after three straight wins, is still evident in the Ulster second row’s demeanour.

Indeed, his frustration at the sky high number of penalties Ulster referee Dudley Phillips awarded against the visitors has clearly stuck in the craw.

“It’s (penalty concessions) something that’s almost unstoppable sometimes,” the 26-year-old says before warming to his subject.

“It’s very frustrating. It just keeps going and going and before you know it you just don’t know how to fix this, so what do you do?

“Do you completely eradicate everything and give up the gainline or do you try and compete and do what you believe in.

“I think we did that (continue competing) and that cost us, but it’s like what was said at half time; some of them (the penalties) were self-inflicted and some of them were interpretation.”

Things certainly didn’t improve for Ulster after the interval summit meeting at the Liberty Stadium and the Ospreys, fully utilising a clearly more powerful scrummage, pulled away with some ease.

The net result of a struggling set-piece has created an absolute need to perform in this area against the Dragons who have managed one win from four outings; with that solitary result coming from their only home game so far against Aironi.

For the consistently performing Tuohy this week has been about addressing the obvious issues, banking the knowledge and moving on to hopefully replicating last May’s win at Rodney Parade; though he will hardly have fond memories of that game as he aggravated his troublesome hamstring and then missed the Magners League semi-final defeat to Leinster.

“Sometimes having a game in a short turnaround time is a blessing because there’s no better way to eradicate things than get back out on the pitch,” the player twice capped for Ireland said.

“We’ve looked at the scrums but I don’t think there are any major problems with them.

“I’m not going to point the finger at anyone,” he says before adding, “I think as a whole eight we’ve got to put our hands up and say it (the Ospreys) wasn’t a good enough performance.”

If one lesson seems to have been absorbed from last Sunday it is the need to bring a higher level of, as Tuohy (pictured) puts it, “pitch management” to Ulster’s game.

“We’ve spoken about managing referees and managing penalty counts and managing the scrums and tinkering with things on the pitch.

“This is a game that we’re looking to right those wrongs,” Tuohy says, again, alluding to the Ospreys experience.

You just hope he doesn’t have to bring Friday evening’s work back home with him to Somerset.

Belfast Telegraph

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