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It's Darren Cave's day after disappointment with Ireland

By Michael Sadlier

While Darren Cave may have been disappointed that he was not required for Ireland's Test against Australia this evening, Ulster's head coach Neil Doak was certainly relieved that he had been able to call on the services of his outside centre last night.

Speaking after Cave's two tries had helped his side to a 25-16 victory against the Ospreys, Doak said: "Darren, Stu (Stuart Olding) and Craig (Gilroy), came back in and, to be fair, with them coming in I thought we looked sharp.

"I thought we were outstanding in the first-half. We had a great platform, played in the right areas, did our basics well bar a couple of bits and pieces, but to go in at 18-3 or whatever it was, I couldn't have asked for anything more."

And while things became somewhat looser after the turn thanks to 13 straight points from the visitors to open the second half, Doak - who said the extent of the shoulder injury suffered by Paddy Jackson would not be known for 24-48 hours - was pleased by the character his side displayed as they held on for the win.

"It was disappointing in the second-half, we lost control a little bit but we finished the game and negated them a bonus point," he said.

"When you look back over the season, look at the score, you'd probably think it was a pretty comfortable win in the end but it got a bit nervous there for a while.

"It was difficult to play out there and they got a bit of momentum."

Man of the match Cave was pleased with his brace, especially coming off his start for Ireland against Georgia last week.

"I'm over due," joked the 27-year-old. "I've been whinging all season that I haven't been getting over the line.

"I've come close a couple of times and we were laughing there that it was a combined yardage of about three of four yards.

"I think maybe the forwards should be taking credit for them but sure it's nice to get a couple of scores. I think the performance our forwards put in in that first half, and then the last couple minutes, those pick and goes and I thought the maul in particular all night.

"In the first half our set-piece put them under a lot of pressure and we kicked well and enabled us to put them under a bit of pressure and that's where we got those 18 points from.

"The boys up front were brilliant."

On the disappointment of not featuring for Ireland, he added: "I didn't feel that at the end I'd done enough to make Joe completely change his thinking and keep me in there. Obviously I'd love to have been playing but I was released and here I am.

"To play Sunday, Friday is a quick turnaround to come in and catch up all the plays but I've been around this place a while so I know what's going on."

Like his coach, Cave also hailed the determination shown by his teammates in seeing out the game.

"When I first started playing for Ulster a few years ago we would have lost that game so I think we did real well and showed good character," he said

"To deny them a bonus point is important."

Belfast Telegraph


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