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Darren Cave now more determined than ever to succeed

By Michael Sadlier

Published 25/05/2015

Incentive: Darren Cave says title woe will act as a spur
Incentive: Darren Cave says title woe will act as a spur
Ruan Pienaar

Every so often the away changing room door would swing open and an Ulster player would appear, before, understandably, seeking some form of refuge by walking away towards the team coach.

They mostly came out unaccompanied by team-mates and, if possible, would not engage with the few gathered nearby observing this leaving of Scotstoun. Darren Cave paused, though, and made his way over to share some of his thoughts.

"I have been around (Ulster) a long while and haven't won anything and it's going to be a tough week for us all with the (PRO12) final being in Belfast," Cave said of the fallout from crashing out at the league's semi-final stage for the second year in succession.

"We'll all be trying to get as far away as possible."

Friday night was Cave's 160th Ulster appearance but another statistic was occupying his thoughts as he faced up to their season being over.

"I have now lost eight play-off games (in the PRO12 and Europe combined) and with every single one I get more determined, though this is a tough one to swallow," the 28-year-old said.

"But the more games I lose and the more medals I miss out on, the more motivated I am. I know we can bounce back.

"And if anything it will make us work that bit harder. I know when I rack up for pre-season and we're slogging our guts out, it will be worth it and we just have to find that one percent more that we haven't had over the last few years."

Cave felt that Ulster had done more than enough to win the game, before Glasgow, somehow, wrested the initiative with DTH van der Merwe's late try and Finn Russell's incredible conversion breaking Ulster hearts.

"We caused them an awful lot of problems, when I watch it back I'll wonder how we were only winning 8-6," said Cave.

"Against Glasgow we had enough opportunities to win and score more than 14 points. There were a couple of bad passes from myself and a couple of kicks out on the full at the start of the second half and we were a bit nervy at that stage for some reason.

"But I think we rode that quite well and when Ruan (Pienaar) put that beauty (a penalty) over from 50 metres, I fully believed we were going to win."

So did most of those in the ground, but then came the penalty against Ricky Lutton followed quickly by the concession of another allowing the Warriors to kick towards the corner. From there came the beginning of the incredible endgame.

"They had the two penalties on the bounce and they kept the ball for I don't know how many phases and it was a great team try," Cave admitted.

"I don't think home advantage won it for Glasgow, but in our stadium it could have been a totally different game," he reckoned though, of course, Ulster had already been fatally damaged over that prospect before their last regulation season game which also just happened to be at Scotstoun.

Ulster will not want to go anywhere near the place for some time to come.

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