herald

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Qualification 'wide open' for Ulster

Ulster are still alive in the Heineken Cup despite the heavy 35-15 defeat to Biarritz, according to director of coaching David Humphreys.

A brace of tries from Takudzwa Ngwenya and scores from Manuel Carizza and Sylvain Marconnet sealed maximum points for the French team, while Andrew Trimble and Stephen Ferris crossed for late consolations.

But Humphreys insists the big-spending Irish province have a great chance of qualifying from Pool Four.

Humphreys said: "The competition is still wide open. We said at the start of the campaign that we needed to win all our home games, pick up a bonus point win at Aironi and try to get some points at Biarritz and Bath. We have four games left and there is plenty to play for.

"We were unbeaten before this game but we weren't a great side.

"We won't lose heart. We have to keep improving and make sure we're ready for Bath in December.

"We're aspiring to be a top team. This side must keep improving but we've got good players.

"We have started the season well in the Magners League and it's now a challenge for us to return and continue our form in that competition.

"There are four big games left but, although we are bruised and battered from this experience, we are not down and out," Humphreys added.

Ulster were tied at 3-3 heading into the break despite missing several chances.

Then 15 points from Dimitri Yachvili nudged the home side out of sight to leave Ulster empty handed.

Humphreys said: "The game really showed the difference of experience in Europe between Biarritz and ourselves. We should have been 12-15 points clear but it was a different game in the second half.

"They came out, scored a good try before Yachvili dominated the game."

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