GUINNESS PRO12: ‘We have to stay level-headed’ insists Ulster director of rugby Less Kiss

Ulster's Louis Ludik scores against Munster
Ulster's Louis Ludik scores against Munster

Director of rugby Les Kiss was left bitterly disappointed after watching Ulster fall at home to Munster and slip down the Guinness PRO12 standings.

Ulster scored the only try of a typical Irish derby slog in poor conditions at Kingspan Stadium but were on the wrong end of a 9-7 scoreline.

Two penalties from Munster outhalf Ian Keatley and a drop goal in between ended a poor run of five losses for the men in red.

Keatley had opened the scoring with an early penalty, but Ulster dominated the remainder of the half and only had a controversial try from fullback Louis Ludik and the conversion from Paddy Jackson to show for their efforts.

And it was that inability to convert possession and territory into points that was to hurt them in the end and allowed Munster to overtake them in the standings.

“We needed to have a few more points on the board by the interval,” said Kiss.

“I think if we had then it might had been enough.

“The longer we allowed Munster to stay in the game, it gave them confidence.

“There were a lot of mistakes. We even started the game with an error.

“But there were times in the second part of that first half that we had enough ball for a while to get more than seven points.

“It was not enough at the end of the game.”

Kiss does not believe the loss has been, as it was put to him, damaging.

“Look, we are really disappointed with losing that game,” he said.

“But I would not regard it as a great deal of damage.

“We have been very honest with ourselves about the things which had got us to where we were and are.

“We have not reacted in a grand way to those things, we have just solidly gone about our business.

“The same should prevail in terms of a game that were not up to the standards we expect.

“We have just got to look at it pragmatically and properly and look at the certain key reasons why it happened and work on the solutions to ensure we grow from it.

“A lot of people say you grow from your losses and you learn from your losses.

“I would like to think we have been learning from our winnings as well.

“But this is something you do not welcome particularly and probably in parts of the game that we did not control well it is not what you welcome we have to take what we can from it.

“We have to stay level headed and know that a good few training sessions and a good honest video session we can sort it out.”

Kiss added: “You go into the New Year and you want to get off to a good start with the two inter-pros.

“It would have been nice to establish ourselves a little bit higher on the table.

“It was not to be. We need to put it aside but be frank and be honest with it.

“Know that we have three big Euro games ahead of us, first two are away from home, so there are some challenges around the travel and all that.

“Maintaining the momentum that we have had you know we have to look at a few things in terms of our team and managing players,.

“We will make those early in the week.”

Kiss was referring to having 11 players away at an Irish National training camp today and tomorrow ahead of the Six Nations Championship.

Among the players were Ulster centres, Stuart McCloskey and Luke Marshall, who have impressed in recent weeks, as well as those on the injury list such as Darren Cave and Jared Payne.