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Just try and stop me now, says Black after first Ulster try

By Michael Sadlier

There was some talk of fatigue, Six Nations disruption, and Groundhog Day even got a mention, but these were dismissed as mere excuses.

Instead, the word from Ulster's management was that merely stumbling over the line to win 13-10 against Glasgow at the Kingspan on Friday night just wasn't good enough, even if emotions were running higher than normal after Callum Black chose to score his first try - and a vital one at that - in his 100th game in white.

Yet for all that, the table still makes good reading for Les Kiss though, in fairness, Ulster's lead is by the slimmest of margins - points differential - over Connacht with just a solitary point between first and fourth.

Anyway, time and again on Friday night, when Ulster put themselves in decent positions - and these situations largely came after yet another pretty dismal first 40 minutes - they inexplicably seemed to lose their composure, by either rushing things through choosing the wrong options, or simply losing ownership of the ball.

Even though he didn't look too comfortable anyway, to lose Ruan Pienaar to a head injury was probably the last thing Kiss needed to see as the South African will now undergo return to play protocols ahead of hosting fourth-placed Scarlets on Sunday.

Indeed, Ulster needed four HIAs (head injury assessments) after their previous win over Dragons which ruled Ian Humphreys out of Friday and saw Sam Windsor make his debut.

And also of concern was the departure of the hard-grafting Rob Herring - according to assistant coach Joe Barakat, the stand-in skipper has missed just two tackles in his last 88 hits - who retired with an unspecified leg injury.

The overall lack of accuracy will also have stuck in Kiss' craw, despite earning four more points. A key lineout was lost, a maul was held up over the Glasgow line and, on another occasion, they were turned over on the line when a score seemed a certainty if only they had chosen to be more patient.

And then to surrender a score against 14 men in the last play? Yes, that took quite a bit of sheen off what should have been considerable celebration for Black from his team-mates.

As usual, Black (left) was modest about his milestone and that first touchdown and expressed himself just relieved to get the win.

"People are saying that I'll maybe have to wait another 100 games for another try but this could be the start of it," he said with a smile. "I've got my mojo back and it (scoring) could be every week hopefully.

"If we can just keep that momentum going (Ulster have won three consecutive league games) it's the sign of a good side not to be at your best but still be able to grind out wins.

"There's a lot to work on and we're missing out on a few bonus points, which could be vital, but the win comes first," he added while mentioning that the Scarlets game would simply have to see a lift in performance.

Barakat agreed and bemoaned Ulster letting in two tries while failing to remain focused when in good scoring positions.

"As a defence coach, when any try is scored against us I feel embarrassed and insulted by it," he said. "We walk away and it's two tries to one and someone's got to take responsibility for that and that's my responsibility."

And with more than a hint that this week's video session will be uncomfortable, the Australian added: "Having (conceded) two tries is quite unacceptable."

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