Belfast Telegraph

Ulster coach Les Kiss on the warpath after Munster flop

By Jonathan Bradley

Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss is today demanding answers after his side's good run of form came to an abrupt halt with a 9-7 Pro12 home league defeat to Munster on Saturday.

With three European Champions Cup ties coming at them on the bounce, Ulster's survival in the tournament is on the line if their sudden, and unexpected, dip in form is not immediately corrected.

Starting with a visit to France this Sunday, Ulster now face Oyonnax home and away either side of a trip to Saracens having lost the momentum of a perfect December.

Angered by the Munster display, after four successive wins to their opponenets five consecutive loses, Kiss rapped: "This wasn't up to the standards we expect and we've got to look for solutions.

"We've a good few training sessions and good honest video sessions to put things right."

The formbook was ripped up as Ulster suffered a first home league loss since May 2014. A win would have put the province in third but instead they enter a crucial three-week European examination sixth in the Pro12.

Kiss will spend today's training and team meeting poring over a game that failed to match the high bar set during a perfect December when Ulater won four on the trot

The forthright Australian added: "We've been very honest with ourselves about what's got us on this run.

"We didn't over-react to that and the same attitude should prevail now.

"We've got to look at that in a pragmatic fashion and look for solutions.

"I think they say you grow from losses and learn from them but this is something we don't welcome."

Ulster's accuracy was lacking throughout a game in which they had more than enough chances to secure a win and Kiss was left frustrated by the number of mistakes made by his players.

"We gave Munster chances to stay in that game for too long," he bemoaned.

"We started with an error rate that will have given them confidence but even in the second part of the first-half we had a real chance to get more than seven points and we didn't.

"In the end it wasn't enough.

"There were times in the second half when we just weren't up to the standards and levels that we have been producing in recent weeks. Fair play to Munster, they got the points."

Despite Ulster's poor performance, they could still have stolen a victory had Paddy Jackson (right) been able to knock over one of two missed penalty attempts in the final quarter, the latter coming in the 78th minute.

Munster coach Anthony Foley, who saw his own out-half Ian Keatley bounce back with a man-of-the-match display after some much-publicised jeering from his own fans last month, predicted that Jackson is not the type to dwell on the pair of misses.

"I thought Paddy had a fine game," said Foley.

"I thought the two kicks were on the outer limits of what he can kick, but he stepped up and gave them a crack.

"I thought he controlled the game at times for Ulster, he took the ball at us at times and was a real threat in the game.

"Kickers will miss and kickers will get them. There shouldn't be any fingers pointed at Paddy Jackson, he kicked one here last year in the last minute.

"There's no fear in him. "Through everyone's career, it's what you do next.

"Ian had a tough few weeks, we took him out of the front-line and he went away and reset himself."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph