Captain Johann Muller blasted Ulster's performance against Leinster but hopes the side can rally and rectify the disappointment with a win at Magners League leaders Munster on Saturday night.
Dejection: The disappointment of the Ulster players is clearly visible after the crushing defeat against Leinster in Monday’s Magners League game at Ravenhill, which has forced them to take a long hard look at themselves MORGAN TREACY/Inpho
The defeat to Joe Schmidt's side means Ulster have slipped to sixth in the table with Leinster and Cardiff both leapfrogging Brian McLaughlin's men on a hugely disappointing evening at Ravehill.
Ulster travel to Thomond Park 12 points behind Munster after they defeated Connacht at the Sportsground on Monday.
Despite missing 11 internationals, Leinster were nevertheless able to outscore Ulster by three tries to one and it was the manner of the defeat that particularly angered Muller.
“To lose a game is fine but the way we lost is the disappointing thing; in the first 20 minutes as a pack of forwards and as a whole team we were bullied.
“Physically they were outstanding and ran some great lines.
“The mind is a great thing. If you’re off the ball five per cent, it will show out on the field and, in those first 20 minutes, we weren't in the game,” said the former Springbok.
Ulster lost in Limerick last season but, in the New Year fixture in 2009, they had a spectacular win by 37-11 although it's unlikely that any of the five try scorers — Paddy Wallace, Andrew Trimble, Tom Court, Darren Cave and Mark McCrea — will feature due to the national Player Management Programme and injuries.
“It is a short turn around and that is the wonderful thing about rugby; we have another opportunity to go out and redeem ourselves,” added Muller.
“The dressing room tells the story; it's dead quiet and nobody is talking, everyone is so disappointed but we only have ourselves to blame You can be complacent and not on the ball, you try to stop it before it happens. We had four wins in a row but we have been hit hard by Leinster.
“We are very disappointed because the confidence was high and we had played some decent rugby against Bath.”
The only bright spark for Ulster on an unforgettable night was the continued emergence of young winger Craig Gilroy.
The 19-year-old Dungannon man took his tally to five tries in three starts, finishing off a great move.
Despite only playing in three games, Gilroy is Ulster's top try scorer in the Magners League.
Stephen Ferris will miss the trip to Limerick although coach McLaughlin is hopeful he will be back the following week for the home game with Treviso.
Ferris is still recovering from a leg injury picked up in training and is with the Irish national squad this week.
Ian Humphreys is also losing his race to be fit for the Munster game. The Ireland A out half turned an ankle in training which forced him to sit out the defeat to Leinster.