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I expect better, says Les Kiss after Ulster stung by Wasps

By Jonathan Bradley

It may have been a pre-season friendly but Ulster Director of Rugby Les Kiss was still left stung by last night's home defeat to Wasps.

Two weeks out from the side's first game of the Pro14 campaign, versus the Cheetahs on September 1, they were second best at Kingspan Stadium, losing by 26-15.

"There's a disappointment there, definitely," said the Australian who is now entering his third season at the province.

"At home, you never like to lose no matter what's at stake. There are certain components of the game where the boys would expect a lot better of themselves. We've been working on a lot of things in the pre-season, certainly getting a few new patterns in, along with the new coaches, but I don't think we got into any flow.

"That's one of the briefs that we had. To be able to see how those new things stacked up under pressure.

"We were just behind the eight ball a little bit too often. They maybe got the ball a little bit easier than we got it and there was 20 minutes to start that second half where they just dominated field position and put us under real pressure. That took it out of the legs.

"You can go down a rabbit hole with friendly results, either way, but it's never nice to lose at home.

"I expect us to deliver a bit better next week, that's for sure," he added.

That game next week will come against Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens with Ulster set to have a number of returning recruits for that contest.

While the British and Irish Lions contingent from the summer tour to New Zealand will not appear until the end of September at the earliest, some from Ireland's own trip could feature, most likely Sean Reidy and former Connacht scrum-half John Cooney.

Darren Cave should be available having missed out last night with a muscle strain, while Marcell Coetzee, out since February, could also play.

"We'll cut things down a fraction more next week, what we put out there on the field, because we'll only be a week away," Kiss added.

"The preparation will be different but we'll look to consolidate things.

"Hopefully Darren is fine for next week, and Marcell could be right as well.

"We could have played him this week in a pinch. He's done a fair bit of work over the last two weeks and I think he'll be close enough to having time on the pitch next week.

"It's just getting that load into it. It's just managing that," he added.

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