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Victorious Anscombe calls for better

Mark Anscombe gave a cautious thumbs up to his Ulster side after they claimed a 41-17 win over Pool 4 rivals Castres in their Heineken Cup opener at Ravenhill.

It took until the final move of the match for the hosts to secure five points from the match, Anscombe's first in charge in the competition. Ruan Pienaar only returned from South Africa at the start of the week after international duty and he finished off Ulster's full-field counter-attack to bring the bonus point up in injury-time.

Anscombe said: "That's what we set out to do (get a bonus-point win) as I said to the guys we had to set out to achieve that and we did. But we know we've got a lot to do and we've got to do it next week. But we achieved what we needed to do tonight."

He added: "It might have been fortunate but we did it. Our execution, though, became a bit too loose at times."

Ulster's other scores came from Paul Marshall, who scored twice, and Andrew Trimble in a first half that saw Ulster lead 23-10 at the break.

Paddy Jackson contributed 21 points from the tee to notch up Ulster's sixth consecutive win following five straight PRO12 successes.

Almost 20 minutes passed before Pienaar's touchdown belatedly locked down the bonus point and Anscombe admitted some concern about how his side went about pursuing the much-needed final score.

"We were trying to force it but it wasn't happening; it got messy and our option taking was poor," he said. "We scored some good tries and played some good rugby but we just got too loose. They got into us a bit and started taking the breakdown ball and we didn't look after it so it became a messy affair."

Scrum-half Marshall, who was taken off for Pienaar around the hour mark, had a positive spin on the result. "If the team goes well it helps everybody and if you can come into this game unbeaten as we did it boosts confidence," he said.

"With Mark rotating the squad everybody's fresh, everybody's keen and there's real competition in the squad which will also hopefully keep us active in both (league and cup) competitions."


From Belfast Telegraph