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Andrew Trimble: No team should ship 60 points

By Ali Gordon

Andrew Trimble believes that George Hook's criticism of Ulster Rugby was slightly over the top but the star winger conceded that the outspoken pundit did make a valid point.

Hook, in yesterday's Belfast Telegraph, lambasted Ulster's 60-22 defeat in Toulon on Saturday, claiming that Neil Doak's men had been left embarrassed and humiliated by the French Top 14 outfit.

But while head coach Doak and stand-in captain Roger Wilson both found positives with Ulster's record European trouncing, Trimble admitted that things have got to change at Kingspan Stadium.

The Ireland international said: "We can't be conceding 60 points no matter who we are playing and what side we put out, so I think he's got a point but, as George tends to do, he's gone a bit overboard with his comments.

"I've spent a bit of time with George Hook and I think I worked out that he only says those kind of things to get a bit of a reaction - that's not really him. He's actually reasonably sound and I think he tries his best to hide it but he's just looking to sensationalise a headline to try to get people talking.

"Maybe it might be good for us to think along those things as well though because we've got very high standards and if we concede 60 points and we come out and say that we're proud of the character we've shown and we take positives from it then I think at some stage we've got to say that there's something not quite right."

After the heroics of 2012 when, under the guidance of Brian McLaughlin, Ulster reached the Heineken Cup final at Twickenham, the side haven't come anywhere close to European silverware.

Trimble is adamant, however, that the glory of the 2011/12 Heineken Cup campaign wasn't a true reflection of the squad at the time.

He revealed: "2012 was a bit misleading because while we did make it to the final we got hammered by Leinster and we were by far the second best team on the day.

"I think last year was probably more of a peak for us. Jared Payne's red card in the game against the Saracens made things difficult for us and who knows what would have happened if that hadn't happened. With 14 men we nearly won that game.

"I don't know what we should do at this stage - I think we've a serious squad of players there. Obviously Europe is gone for us this year but I think we can expect to win the League or at least expect to be in mix. We've been there or thereabouts for the last few seasons and it would just be nice to get some silverware," said Trimble, speaking exclusively to Belfast Telegraph at BT Sport's European Rugby Champions Cup event.

Plagued with injuries all season, it was always going to be difficult for Ulster to salvage much in the way of a result against the star-studded Toulon line-up but Trimble insists that money isn't the answer to Ulster's problems.

"I just feel that there's a lot more to Ulster than the recent results. I don't think throwing money at the problem is really the solution we should be looking at at the minute.

"Considering the guys that we rested on Saturday and the injuries that we have, I think we have to be pretty pleased with the character we've shown. Shipping 60 points isn't really ideal and we've got to find a way of digging in even when things aren't going well, even when you're not going to get a win," admitted Trimble who has been side-lined for 12 weeks as a result of a toe injury but will return next month.

"We can compete with the best guys, it's just a case of getting our head space right and making sure we go onto the pitch and do what we're capable of doing."

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