Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Time to cut out errors and plot more fairytales

Clinical: Rory Best wants his men to finish teams off
Clinical: Rory Best wants his men to finish teams off

In the wake of Friday night's 18-3 Magners League semi-final defeat by Leinster, neither Ulster captain Rory Best nor coach Brian McLaughlin wasted time on what might have been.

Instead they looked at what has to improve if Ulster are to build on the foundations they have laid.

One man who may not be part of Ulster's next chapter is Jeremy Davidson who could be leaving his assistant coaching role.

The former Ireland and Lions player fuelled speculation he was leaving by saying on his Facebook account, "A new start!! Au revoir."

His departure would leave McLaughlin searching for a new forwards coach.

Looking to the future, McLaughlin was typically frank about what changes are necessary.

"You're judged on your success and we haven't won anything so that's hugely disappointing for us, he admited.

"But we feel we have turned the corner although the proof of that will be next season."

Citing five significant absentees from Friday's line-up, he said: "We've come down here tonight without Stephen Ferris, Andrew Trimble, Paddy Wallace, Willie Faloon and BJ Botha, a lot of the boys who have been key for us all year.

"From that point of view it's great for the guys who have played out there and great for them that they've had the opportunity to play at that level.

"They will learn from that and we will be a better side for it."

Grand Slam winner Best hinted at pain before gain.

"We have to be more clinical and whether that's being harder on ourselves in training in the hope that will transfer into games, I'm not sure," said the skipper.

"But I think the fact that we are creating so much and that we can defend as we've just shown - that was a very, very good Leinster attack and we limited them to three opportunities, two of which they took - means we have to take heart from that.

"We came down here to win a game to get ourselves into a final and we haven't done it so we have to be disappointed with that and be hard on ourselves.

"Next season we have to strive for better than quarter-finals of Europe and semi-finals of Magners."

McLaughlin added: "The key thing for us now is that we've got to take another step.

"We have to keep going forward next year into Europe and make the quarter-finals again and Magners semi-finals again. We must learn from our mistakes."

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