Darren Cave enjoys first hat-trick with Ulster

Ulster's Darren Cave runs in his second try of three against Leicester Tigers
Ulster's Darren Cave runs in his second try of three against Leicester Tigers

Head coach Richard Cockerill was frustrated with Leicester’s performance after a 26-7 defeat at Ulster ended their chances of making the Champions Cup quarter-finals.

Darren Cave scored a hat-trick of tries as Ulster ensured they escaped finishing bottom of Pool Three, with the bonus point score coming from Craig Gilroy and Ruan Pienaar adding three conversions.

The Tigers could only manage a single converted try from Adam Thompstone in response when they needed to not only win the game but come away with a bonus point to keep their European hopes alive.

“There were no complaints, they scored four tries to our one,” said Cockerill.

“They were very good, we weren’t as good as we could have been but they didn’t let us.

“You come and you have to play and they know you have to play and we were outplayed.

Cave was delighted with the way that Ulster bounced back from conceding a record score in the 60-22 reverse at Toulon last week.

“We took a lot of positives from our defensive performance against Toulon and brought it to this,” he said.

“We said during the week that any team can get up for a massive game but can we get up when you’re playing for just your shirt and your crowd and I think that we did that massively.

“That’s my first hat-trick for Ulster but I didn’t have to do a lot for them. But I’m not worrying about that.

“We’ve talked over the last couple of months of not being accurate enough and this was the opposite.

“We scored four tries and we probably only had five opportunities so we didn’t leave a lot out there which is something.”