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Ulster off colour again so it's time to get back out there and fix it, says Robbie Diack


Under pressure: Michael Allen tries to evade a tackle from Treviso's Andrea Pratichetti during Ulster's hard-fought win in Italy

Under pressure: Michael Allen tries to evade a tackle from Treviso's Andrea Pratichetti during Ulster's hard-fought win in Italy

Matteo Ciambelli /Presseye.com

Under pressure: Michael Allen tries to evade a tackle from Treviso's Andrea Pratichetti during Ulster's hard-fought win in Italy

It was anything but assured even though the win was bagged and thanks to other results, Ulster moved up to third place in the RaboDirect Pro12 table.

No bonus points this time over Treviso, in what was the fourth time the sides have met this season, even though it was plain that Ulster were going for tries from early on when maybe it might have been better for Ruan Pienaar to have three shots at goal to give his side a cushion from which to build.

Instead, Ulster struggled to impose themselves on the game against the fired-up Italians, who were determined to put in a decent display after the recent horror show at the Liberty Stadium.

There was, yet again, a definite rustiness about Ulster which was again probably understandable considering how little game-time they have had of late.

But, even so, the sight of their set-piece not exactly getting on top of things with iffy scrums – and perhaps debatable refereeing calls – was somewhat debilitating for Ulster's plans, while the lineout was also vulnerable at key times.

Still, it could have been worse, but this latest arm-wrestle of a win should now set off the alarm bells ahead of facing the Dragons up on Friday night after their win over Glasgow which, in fairness, worked out rather well for Ulster – as did Munster's win at the Ospreys.

One Ulster player who did his reputation no harm at all – and there were precious few in that position – was try scorer Robbie Diack, who showed up strongly and was even involved three times in the build-up to Darren Cave's 10th minute try when it looked as if the visitors might be on for another big victory.

Afterwards, the Ireland qualified Diack, who played for the Wolfhounds last month against England Saxons, reflected on the side's disappointment in producing their second consecutive less than impressive effort even though the wins are still coming.

"We are disappointed in the way we played and in our discipline and our set-piece wasn't what it was so that (the win) was a relief.

"But we've got to go back to the drawing board this week," Diack said of what is sure to be an unpleasant post-match video analysis for the squad with Mark Anscombe.

"I think we let them in at our set-piece in the scrum in the first half and in the first one they got a penalty and that really got their tails up.

"They had a lot of firepower in their forwards and their backs and you just can't allow that to happen but we did," Diack added about Ulster's inability to make the game safe after taking a 14-6 lead following Diack's 50th minute score.

As for his second half try, a critical score as it turned out with Pienaar's conversion ultimately keeping the visitors in front, the South African brushed off any notion that he could be outwardly satisfied at getting the score.

"We went through some phases and really anyone could have got that try," he said.

"It's nice to get a try but all you want is for the team to play well and I think in the last couple of games we've luckily come away with wins.

Diack went on: "We've got to now focus on the Dragons and they've got a good team and it's going to be hell of a confrontation and we're just looking forward to being back at Ravenhill.

"These last couple of weeks have been stop-start," said Diack, with more than slight reference to the postponement of the Scarlets game on February 14.

"And I think we're now looking forward to getting a bit of momentum from playing again. That's the best way to rectify things to just get back on the pitch as quickly as possible and try and fix it," he added.

Belfast Telegraph