European Cup campaign ‘all but over’ accepts Ulster coach Neil Doak

Ulster players trudge dejectedly off the Parc y Scarlets pitch following their 22-13 loss to Scarlets
Ulster players trudge dejectedly off the Parc y Scarlets pitch following their 22-13 loss to Scarlets

Ulster coach Neil Doak admitted his side’s European campaign was all but over after the 22-13 defeat to Scarlets at Parc y Scarlets.

James Davies scored a late try as Scarlets wonto keep their chances alive of reaching the knockout stages of the Champions Cup.

With Rhys Priestland kicking 17 points Scarlets have gone second in Pool Three with games against Toulon and Leicester remaining in January.

Ulster’s Darren Cave scored a try, there were two penalties from Ruan Pienaar and a conversion from Ian Humphreys.

Scarlets moved into second place agove Leicester Tigers, both on eight points - five adrift of leaders, Toulon.

Ulster dropped to bottom of the pool.

“It’s going to be difficult to get out of the group with the result last week. We have just got to see how the next two games go,” said Doak.

“Obviously Toulon away is no easy ask and we will have to play particularly well to get something out of that.

“The boys have dug in well and hopefully with the injuries we have got we’ll get a few bodies back in January. Hopefully that will be the catalyst to finish this phase off before the Six Nations

“We started the second half very well and got a try and nearly got another.

“First half was poor from our point of view with regards discipline – 11 penalties to three. We talked about it especially in the conditions.

“Credit to the guys that they got back in the game – some good decisions by Luke Marshall and Darren Cave. Just unfortunate we couldn’t get that second try that would have taken us into the lead.

“These top European games are always nip and tuck especially in the conditions . So your have to get those chances and we just didn’t deliver on the night.

“Thought some of the scrum penalties were a bit harsh. If you look at the footage Declan (Fitzpatrick) is binding on the arm. But at the end of the day the referee is the man in the middle and we have to work with him.

Doak said he was delighted to have Marshall back in action especially as he linked well with Darren cave for Ulster’s try.

“Conditions dictated a different tempo but it was great to have Luke back. He linked up for that score and he is a quality player. It’s good to have him back.”