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Rory Best: I wondered if I was the problem during year-long winless Ulster run

By Gareth Hanna

Rory Best has confessed he started to wonder if he was the problem during his long winless streak.

Best had gone 386 days since his last victory in an Ulster shirt but showed all of his character and ability with a well-deserved Man of the Match display to lead his side to a crucial 20-13 victory over La Rochelle on Saturday afternoon.

The last time the Banbridge RFC man enjoyed an Ulster win was against Connacht in December 2016 and after the La Rochelle success, he admitted the result was a huge relief.

"You lie to everyone and you say it doesn't matter but I was starting to get a little bit worried that I was the issue," he smiled on Sky Sports.

"It isn't about me but it is lovely to win again in a jersey that means so much to me."

Best touched down Ulster's opening try while Jacob Stockdale and Nick Timoney also went over. It was all a far cry from the 38-7 defeat in Leinster the previous weekend. So how did Ulster turn things round?

"I think a lot of hard work," said Best. "We wanted to work hard. We showed a lot of clips last week when we gave it up too easily. That's one thing you saw, right to the very end, the guys coming off the bench lifted us and we had a sheer determination not to give anything up.

"There was obviously a lot of emotion from last week and how we performed. Over the Christmas period, I know the fans have been very frustrated but nobody is more frustrated than us, the coaching staff, the management and everybody involved.

"We talked about reactions but a lot of hard work goes into that. You can't just talk about it and it happens. That was a pleasing win against a quality side."

Now Ulster turn their attention to next Sunday (January 21)'s trip to Wasps.

"We need to see that as the bench mark in performances and physicality," said Best. "We can't do anything about other results. We knew we had two games and if we're to have any chance of progressing, we needed to win both of them.

"We've put one down and we'll enjoy the feeling in the changing room but we'll come back in and get ready to work hard again."

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