Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Ulster Ed back with nothing to disappoint McCall

Murrayfield has been a happy hunting ground for Ulster in the past, but a below par performance on Friday night allowed Edinburgh to claim a 24-10.

Ulster will play worse this season and win games. However, their undoing in the Scottish capital was too many turnovers due to losing the ball in contact.

Not only was the defeat hard to swallow for coach Mark McCall, but he has to prepare for this Saturday's trip to the Dragons knowing he is without the suspended Ryan Caldwell - while there are injury concerns over Bryn Cunningham, Kieran Dawson and Matt McCullough.

The turning point of the game came when Edinburgh, leading 7-0, were awarded a soft penalty try and McCall didn't agree with the decision.

" It was very harsh. It was a penalty, but all their scores were soft, stated McCall.

The coach believed Ulster's poor start contributed to their downfall.

"We're disappointed with the result and the performance. In the first half hour we lacked aggression and we were dominated physically.

"We played better in the second half, but kept turning the ball over and we couldn't hold on to the ball long enough to score.

"At this level if you make as many mistakes as we did, especially in crucial areas of the pitch, you don't deserve to win. We lacked composure. There was good build-up play to the 22 and then we tried to force passes.

"We dropped passes and turned over the ball. We allowed their number seven to have a big influence on the game and he was very influential at the breakdowns."

There were positives for Ulster to take from the game. The lineout functioned very well with hooker Nigel Brady hitting his man every time and also looking good around the park.

The scrum also held up well under pressure and prop Tom Court put in some big defensive hits.

Ulster travel to Rodney Parade hoping to emulate Munster who beat the Dragons 26-16 in Wales last week.

The Dragons are struggling with one win from four games and are unlikely to have their internationals back despite Wales being eliminated from the World Cup.

Leinster had an impressive victory against league leaders Cardiff at the Arms Park and picked up a bonus point.

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