Ulster Rugby coach Mark Anscombe says 'blame me' for team's trophy failure
Ulster coach Mark Anscombe has accepted blame for his side's season ending barren in Saturday night's 13-9 defeat by Leinster in the PRO12 semi-final at the RDS in Dublin.
That loss – the fourth in four seasons at Leinster's hands when the finishing line has been in view – put paid to Ulster hopes of ending an eight-year trophy famine.
Anscombe bravely took one for his team by saying it was mostly his fault. "We were just our own worst enemy at times," he said.
Admitting Ulster's failure to finish the job, the Kiwi added: "That's something that we clearly have to be better at if we're going to win these big games because we've been there for three or four years and repeating it, so that's mostly my fault that we haven't fixed it."
Ulster supporters have not seen their big-money team win a trophy since 2006 and Anscombe's undertaking to them was: "I can promise you that we have unearthed a few good young players for the future, with some others coming in."
Insisting that Ulster have closed the gap between themselves and Leinster, Anscombe added: "There's nothing in it between these two teams and I think everyone will agree it's a toss of a coin in all these games now."
Captain Johann Muller, heading back to his native South Africa having retired from rugby, forecast good times, too.
"I would love to come and watch them next year in the final and have a bit of champagne with them afterwards because I truly believe, I honestly believe, that it is possible for this team to win trophies," he said.
- That extra spark is still missing in heat of battle
- More stars need to stand up and take on responsibility: Anscombe
- Muller began to dream about the perfect farewell
- It's been more misses than hits, so what now for Ulster?