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Neil Doak admits there's now no room for error for Ulster

By Michael Sadlier

This time there was no great escape. True, the losing bonus point could yet prove of inestimable value but, in the rawness of the immediate aftermath, Ulster coach Neil Doak wasn't greatly cheered by that.

He had needed to end this segment of games with four from four - their next game against Cardiff is on March 27 - but was now having to piece together just how a largely malfunctioning Ulster had simply not taken the grip on the game that their coach had wanted.

"We knew it was four tough games for us and we knew we really had to get four wins," said Doak.

"That would have set us up nicely but now we've got to make sure that we're error free and disciplined for the rest of the season.

"Coming away from home is always difficult, but to get a point and still be in the top four, and in second position, is key for us and we've got to make sure that we stay there for the rest of the games," the coach added of the remaining five clashes in the PRO12's regulation season.

Ulster had looked dead and buried at Rodney Parade when the scoreline stood at 21-8 to the Dragons after their ill-discipline had again cost them dearly with Callum Black having been sin-binned.

But they recovered and twice closed the gap on the scoreboard with Ross Adair's last-minute try on his debut ensuring they didn't leave Wales empty-handed after having to operate over there without the suspended Roger Wilson, Luke Marshall and Stuart McCloskey, while having also lost Louis Ludik to injury prior to the game.

"We didn't kick particularly well and in hindsight when we look at the pack we had out they should have been a little bit more dominant for us.

"But just across the board we didn't use the ball wisely," Doak said when trying to explain what had gone wrong.

"We let them run at us and that boils down to the energy and will and we just didn't have that."

The coach did have words of encouragement for youngsters Sam Arnold and try scorer Adair who made a significant impact from the bench on their debuts.

"They (Adair and Arnold) brought more energy than some of the senior guys and I told them that in the changing room afterwards," he said.

"We've got to try and play as if it's our first game all the time.

"That's the energy that wins leagues and puts in solid performances," the coach added.

Belfast Telegraph


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