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We need to learn lessons from defeat, says Ulster assistant Peel

 

By Jonathan Bradley

After yesterday's 41-17 defeat to La Rochelle dealt his side's European quarter-final hopes a blow, Ulster assistant Dwayne Peel believes the squad will have to learn plenty of lessons from their trip to the Stade Marcel Deflandre.

With both sides coming in having won their openers, a big game in Pool 1 was swung decidedly in the hosts' favour by three quickfire tries in seven second half minutes, La Rochelle securing their second bonus point win on the bounce in their first ever Champions Cup campaign.

"The first half was highly competitive," said Peel. "We created some chances, they created theirs and we just lost some territory and possession in the second half. It was a few errors from us and good play from them. They capitalised on our mistakes but they also took their chances really well.

"It was difficult for us at the end with the lack of possession.

"We didn't get the ball and obviously they dominated the possession stakes. I thought within patches we had glimpses here and there with the ball, we managed to get some gains.

"But it's very difficult if you're defending for large periods then to switch physically and be in good shape to go. I thought the commitment and attitude of the lads was good."

While the scoreline didn't reflect it, Peel actually felt his side defended well before the pressure of a second half in which the hosts had 66% territory eventually told.

There were indeed some periods of dogged resistance on their own line, although there were certainly errors abound in the build up to the five tries conceded.

"What I would say is they had a lot of the ball but we fought really hard," added Peel.

"I thought our scramble defence and our defence in general on that line for that large period was very good. To be honest I think that shows the spirit of the lads at the minute, they're fighting hard to guard our line. But ultimately with that much territory and possession it's very difficult.

"It was difficult. Three tries back to back was difficult. We had some ball at the end which we tried to make use of but I think we'll go away from the game and there's a lot to learn, a lot of things we can do better definitely, there's a lot of errors we need to cut out of our game, but I think we saw a lot of good stuff."

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