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Piutau's best still lies ahead, says Kiss

By Jonathan Bradley

Published 24/10/2016

Big game: Charles Piutau put in a man of the match performance
Big game: Charles Piutau put in a man of the match performance

Ulster Director of Rugby Les Kiss has said there is still more to come from superstar signing Charles Piutau after the All Black had a huge hand in saving the province's European season.

The 24-year-old, who joined the Kingspan outfit this summer from Auckland via Wasps, missed the last two games with a concussion, but earned man-of-the-match honours in the 19-18 win over Exeter.

After last week's eight-minute collapse from a winning position to the surrendering of even a losing bonus-point, Ulster could ill afford another slip up against the Chiefs, but needed every ounce of class from their big-name import who had a huge hand in both the game's only try and the setting up of Paddy Jackson's dramatic, game-winning drop goal.

"When I was with the Irish team, we did profiles of opposition players," said Kiss."I remember watching Charles and thinking, 'wow, unbelievable'.

"Then when we had the chance to get him I was obviously pretty pleased. We've missed him the last couple of weeks for sure, but again he did some pretty special things.

"I don't think we've seen the best of him yet either. We're not opening the space up as we would like to for him and the rest of our back-three. If we create more space then we'll see a bit more from them all, especially Charles."

After the narrow win, Kiss was relieved his side's chances of Champions Cup progression were still alive beyond the first pair of fixtures but is already calling for an improvement ahead of the December double-header with Top 14 leaders Clermont.

"We're still in touch," he said. "Last season we lost two and got 18 points to finish second and it's that type of competition.

"It can always go to the last round. We're still in the hunt, albeit Clermont is a massive challenge for us home and away.

"We're going to need to be at our best and hopefully get to a point where we are playing a little bit better. I think we ebb and flow and at too many times we aren't humming at 100%.

"I still have to take my hat off to the guys, there's parts of what we're trying to achieve and the move to that has been strong."

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