Director of rugby, Les Kiss, admitted Ulster had put in a poor performance in lots of ways as they suffered their first defeat of the Guinness PRO12 campaign with a 30-25 reverse to champions Connacht at The Sportsground last night.
Cian Kelleher crossed twice and there were tries for James Connolly and Caolin Blade as Connacht made it successive back to back try scoring bonus point wins to lift them seventh in the table. Jack Carty kicked 10 points with the boot.
Craig Gilroy, Rory Best and Jared Payne cross for Ulster with Paddy Jackson kicking 10 points to ensure at least a losing bonus point to keep Ulster top of the PRO12 standings.
But there could be few arguments who was the better side on the night and Kiss acknowledged that.
“We were just poor. it was a very poor performance in a lot of ways,” he said.
“Certainly we had some fight at times and showed what we can do at times.
“But we were pretty ordinary at times. The boys are pretty honest with themselves in there (dressing room afterwards).
“We’ve got to make sure we get back together next week, get our prep right and ensure we cut out little errors, individuals making errors. As a whole, that puts you on the back foot.
Ulster face Bordeaux in Europe next week and Kiss knows they will have to perform better.
“We will take a hard look at ourselves this week, but nights like tonight happen from time to time,” he said.
Kiss added: “In the second half we seemed to get on the right side of a couple of calls and we don’t kick the ball out.
“We didn’t kick the ball out after a scrum penalty. Then some other incident happened and suddenly they scored. It just turned around in that moment.
“That’s a simple error to give them the ball from a penalty. They’re costly ones. It wasn’t the only one. There were a lot errors in that game. Dropping simple balls, missing tackles. That’s disappointing. To a man, they put their hand up in there and acknowledged it.
“We have to ready ourselves for Bordeaux. Hopefully we can take some lessons from Toulouse home and away last year and approach it in a similar fashion. You need to be on your game. You need to play at a good tempo against the French teams.
“We’ll have to dust ourselves down, take an honest look at things and move forward. We’ve got to, that’s all there is to it. We’ll assess what we have after a couple of injuries tonight.”