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Kiss is happy to see new attacking shape bear some fruit

 

By Jonathan Bradley

Ulster Director of Rugby Les Kiss was satisfied with his side's work last night despite losing to the Barbarians by a score of 43-28 in Kingspan Stadium.

With the province's season having come to a premature end after they missed out on the play-offs for the first time since 2012, they have spent the last three weeks working on a new attacking shape and Kiss was pleased to see it in action during a defeat in which they still managed to bag four tries.

"I think it was nice to get the shackles off a bit and play a bit of rugby," said the Australian.

"We put together some nice stuff there. The last two and a half weeks we've been working on a new attacking shape and I think that bore a bit of fruit.

"We probably just didn't get into the phase game to see it really take hold."

Unfortunately for Kiss, his side's best passage of play saw a knock-on almost over the line by scrum-half Paul Marshall.

"It was nice to see, particularly the movement for the non-try," said Kiss. "I think Marshy was already thinking about the somersault celebration.

"It was a nice way to finish the season, not the result but how we played.

"We had some young guys out there. We had Mattie Rea, Callum Patterson, who got a try, and Mark Keane all getting a first hit out.

"Tommy O'Hagan wasn't on the team sheet for us but we snuck him on there and it'll be a good experience for him.

"Callum Smith as well I thought did well too. Overall you've got the new guys and some older guys moving out so we'll need that. There was a lot of good stories there."

While pleased for how the showing augured for the season, and indeed seasons ahead, there was still time to look back on an evening that saw the province say goodbye to two crowd favourites in Ruan Pienaar and Roger Wilson.

Indeed, Wilson had a chance to show a different string to his bow as he converted the side's first try with the most rare of efforts off the tee.

"I only gave it to him at captain's run the day before and I said if we score a try in this area, you can have a kick at goal," laughed Kiss.

"He was a bit nervous so he went and had a few practices and he was striking them exactly as he did in the game. I was happy for him that he got the points. It was a bit of craic."

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