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We dominated the game but didn't get our just rewards, claims Doak

By Michael Sadlier

It wasn't pretty and it wasn't quite what had been hoped for on the scoreboard in terms of Connacht getting so close, but the key was that Ulster had come out on top.

Four points had been required and four points had been delivered even though things had been a lot tighter than coach Neil Doak would have liked.

"We got the job done in the end," the Ulster coach said afterwards - which was about all he could have said in the aftermath of another difficult night of weather at the Kingspan which gave us precious little warmth for this festive encounter.

"But obviously we're a little bit frustrated with the dominance we had up front and the fact we didn't get our just rewards," Doak added of a performance that had fallen away somewhat in the second half when it came to making inroads on the scoreboard.

While Connacht celebrated their first bonus point from a visit north and quietly seethed at not managing to win for the first time in 54 years, Doak could only reflect on what he felt should have been an easier victory for his charges.

"When you look at the game I thought we were pretty dominant but didn't get the just rewards to be honest," said the coach.

"They're a dogged side and it was difficult playing conditions and it's always tight when you're 10-3 and you've got dominance," he added.

True, but Ulster had still stuttered when they should really have been pushing on and, yet again, the missed opportunities were nearly so costly for them.

"We had a scrum and we were penalised 10 metres from their line and missed a couple of opportunities with kicks at goal and maybe (if the chances had been taken) it might have made it a little bit easier with 15 minutes to go on the old ticker," stated Doak.

"They did well to get into our 22 and get a good score (in the second half) but to be fair to our guys coming in off the back of the two losses showed great character," he added.

Doak was also less than happy at some of Connacht's work when Ulster tried to launch their rolling mauls which he felt was worthy of mention.

"If you look at some of the footage they're lifting the legs of some of our players which is putting them off balance and is a little bit illegal," he said.

"The fellah in the middle (the referee) didn't obviously see it and that's why it was so frustrating.

"We thought we had dominance in the maul and that's why it didn't come to fruition. It was frustrating to say the least."

Doak, not for the first time, stressed that his squad need to be more ruthless and accurate despite the decisions.

"We've been pretty decent at home this year and we've only lost once to Toulon who aren't a bad side. We get to certain stages in games and just can't finish them off," he said.

Leinster in Dublin next Saturday will provide a somewhat different challenge.

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