Belfast Telegraph

Baffled Kiss has no answer to Ulster's run of poor form

By Jonathan Bradley

Baffled Ulster Director of Rugby Les Kiss admitted his side's current run of poor form is a mystery to him after a disappointing 28-17 surrender to Edinburgh at Murrayfield last night.

The hosts had led by 25 points early in the second-half with only a pair of late tries from debutant Aaron Cairns and Jacob Stockdale bringing some respectability to the scoreline.

The reverse means a third Guinness Pro12 loss on the bounce for the province and their worst league run in five years, prompting questions from concerned fans and expert opinion, including former player Stephen Ferris in this newspaer yesterday..

"Yeah, it's a bit of a mystery," said Kiss. "It's not truly representative of who we are and what we are but you can only go on what we gave out there."

Kiss added: “I thought we trained really well this week but we just didn’t put our words into action. It wasn’t until late in the game that we actually started to do something that was decent and we started to create opportunities.”

The former Ireland assistant has said his side must stick together during what is fast becoming the most testing time of his tenure in Belfast.

With the seemingly favourable fixture of Zebre at Kingspan Stadium the side’s first game back after a two-week break, Kiss admitted that even the lowly Italians will fancy their chances of a shocking upset on current form.

“We’ve got to stick together,” he stressed. “We talk about being honest, but being honest means you have to deliver as well in your actions.

“We always work hard, no doubt. But we have to take this hit, we have to cop it on the chin and we have to look hard at ourselves and come back from the break prepared to work hard.

“Zebre’s going to be looking at us on our return game from the break and probably licking their lips if we do that again.

“So we have to work hard and stay strong and make sure we tap into the right things to get the return on that performance.

“It’s there, we know the quality we do have and that we can play rugby but it’s no point waiting until the 60th minute to produce it.

“For most of the year we’ve played very strongly and haven’t put teams away, here we didn’t play well at all. Ten minutes of rugby isn’t going to win you matches or win you competitions.”

With the side that took the field last night hugely disrupted by both injury and the fact that four Ulstermen are with the Ireland squad that will take on the All Blacks in Chicago tonight, the province — who remain fifth in the table — have been dealt another blow with prop Ross Kane shipping what looked to be a serious knee injury.

“We’ll check it out,” added Kiss. “At the minute it’s the medial area but we’ll get the scans back in Belfast.”

Belfast Telegraph

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