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Sean Reidy vows Ulster will tackle mentality problems

By Michael Sadlier

Published 19/10/2015

Dejected: Sam Arnold and Andrew Trimble trudge off after defeat in Edinburgh
Dejected: Sam Arnold and Andrew Trimble trudge off after defeat in Edinburgh

All the previous insistence that they really don't have issues with playing away from home came back to bite Ulster with considerable venom on Friday night as they went down 16-10 in Edinburgh.

They needed to speed out of the blocks early and make a statement, but failed to do so - yet again leaving Neil Doak a highly frustrated figure when off on his travels.

Just like against the Scarlets, the video session will not be for the faint-hearted even though they still managed to escape Murrayfield with a losing bonus point to stay in fifth spot. Yes, but only another thumping home win over Cardiff Blues on Friday will be sufficient after the malfunctioning effort three days ago.

Ulster mostly looked like a side who knew they had a game-plan but just didn't have enough familiarity with it to execute what was required in terms of consistency and accuracy.

And Edinburgh - now so well drilled under Alan Solomons - had more energy, accuracy and intensity from the off.

And even though Ulster did claw their way back into this pretty forgettable game to lead 10-6, which looked like it could potentially be a winning score, they were badly picked off out wide for man of the match Hamish Watson's try.

As things turned out, Ulster could actually have snatched this game which may also give things a slightly more positive spin in the post-match analysis, though it will hardly spare some players from some fairly direct criticism.

And should they have gone for the sticks - albeit the wrong side of the field for Peter Nelson, though Stuart McCloskey could have had a pop at it - instead of attempting to get their hardly world-beating rolling maul going when only trailing 13-10?

In hindsight, of course, it looked a poor call in a game of such small margins on the scoreboard.

Ulster's try scorer Sean Reidy said afterwards: "We're back home at the Kingspan (on Friday) and we'll do our best to turn it on and put on a good solid performance for the home crowd.

"It was a tough day at the office."

And the Kiwi flanker, who has now scored two tries in as many games, added: "We weren't clinical enough in the right zones and in the end we paid and they held onto the ball better than we did."

And as for an explanation of why it was yet another lacklustre effort away from the Kingspan, Reidy put it down to mentality issues.

"It's just little things like mental glitches here and there and that can be easily fixed," he said

"We're there or thereabouts when we're away so we'll just have to do some little fixes."

We're only one game into a segment of 16 so those fixes will have to be sorted out and pretty quickly too if Ulster are to maintain their challenge and back up their home form when on their travels.

Head coach Doak said: "We were very disappointed and we didn't execute in the right areas and that really showed in the end.

"We thought that we might have pushed on and won (after Reidy's try and Nelson's conversion had given Ulster their 10-6 lead).

"But there were a couple of defensive errors and they got round the edge and scored.

"We still had chances to score but we didn't and those missed opportunities showed in the end result."

And as for going forward, Doak clearly remained upbeat about the situation after only four games which has seen Ulster win two and, of course, lose the same number.

"We're not that far behind (leaders Munster, who Ulster travel to play on Friday week, are six points ahead) and there are a lot of games left and we're not at panic stations yet," maintained the coach.

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