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Ulster had history in our hands but we just couldn’t take it, laments Dan McFarland after Toulouse heartbreak

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Antoine Dupont of Toulouse scores the clinching try during their Heineken Champions Cup clash against Ulster

Antoine Dupont of Toulouse scores the clinching try during their Heineken Champions Cup clash against Ulster

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Antoine Dupont of Toulouse scores the clinching try during their Heineken Champions Cup clash against Ulster

Dan McFarland admitted history had been there to be made for his Ulster side after they exited the Champions Cup at the hands of holders Toulouse.

Having won by six away from home, they would fall by seven at Ravenhill with the final aggregate score reading 50-49 in favour of their decorated visitors thanks to Antoine Dupont's decisive score with only five minutes remaining.

Tom O'Toole's red card with a quarter of an hour to go was clearly a key turning point, Ulster ahead by three on aggregate at the time in a tie they were once leading by ten, but the coach highlighted not just the dismissal but defensive mistakes for Toulouse's two first-half tries.

With Robert Baloucoune's first-leg hat-trick and Ethan McIlroy's brilliant brace back at home now destined to be in a losing effort, the fact that Ulster afforded Toulouse's world-class half-back pairing too much space ultimately proved the deciding factor.

"I think that was a critical one," said McFarland of O'Toole's dismissal for a high hit only minutes after coming onto the field.

"Their try at the end probably came off the back of having that extra man and being so potent when the game is stretched.

"But I also look at their two tries, we gifted them two tries through poor pieces of defence, letting guys through on inside shoulders and an intercept pass in the space of five minutes.

"Ultimately that was a big difference in the game.

"I think there was another critical call on James Hume off his feet at the breakdown which for me was just not a penalty at all. That was a pretty critical moment. "Outside of that, the red card and those two tries were the difference between the two teams."

It will be a bitter pill to swallow for the northern province who now have only the URC to focus on despite going toe-to-toe with the French giants for 160 minutes.

"It puts us out of the competition," added McFarland of their sole European loss of the campaign.

"The game was there for us to win, we won over there last week. We should have won by 13 points last week.

"Here we're in the game competing with them and the game was decided because we did a few critical things that were wrong.

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"Teams do that obviously but if you want to win at this level against sides of the quality of Toulouse, you can't afford to make those mistakes. It happens but on the day today we didn't quite get it right."


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