Les Kiss is sure Ulster are ‘still in the hunt’ after victory

Ulster's Roger Wilson and Connacht's Eoin McKeon
Ulster's Roger Wilson and Connacht's Eoin McKeon

Director of rugby, Les Kiss, said the stand Ulster made against Connacht on Friday night in an 18-10 Guinness PRO12 win could not be underestimated.

Ulster saw off the league leaders - it was Connacht’s first loss in seven games - at Kingspan Stadium with a determined performance even if it was a little rough around the edges.

The hard fought victory saw Ulster move up to fourth place and breathe life into their bid to make the play-offs.

Tries from captain Rory Best - on his return to Ulster from Six Nations duty - and Craig Gilroy got Ulster over the line to halt a slide which had seen them lose three of their last four matches.

Paddy Jackson kicked a conversion and two penalties while Connacht, who have not won in Belfast since 1960, failed to get a losing bonus point in spite of scoring a second-half try from replacement Caolin Blade along with a conversion and first-half penalty from Shane O’Leary.

“Yes that was an important win,” said Kiss, adding: “We now have to go to Zebre in two weeks time and do the job again.

“We are in the hunt still and we knew that this was a pretty important game in terms of that area.

“I am really proud of the guys they knew what was at stake and the work that they put in this week was crucial to get the result.

“They worked hard, they worked smart, they were physical and very determined to repay a lot of people here tonight and it was important to make that stand here.”

He added: “We played the best team in the competition at the moment, the momentum is all with them

“I thought we dominated it for long tracks of the game and we possibly should have got more out of it. But we can look at that and assess where that takes us. But the win is the win that is the important thing.”

Connacht went down to 13 minute during an eight minute spell going into the final 10 minutes but Ulster were unable to break them down.

“Maybe we are not used to playing a rugby league team, or something like that,” said Kiss.

“We could have probably done better there, but first and foremost it was the win and we will dissect that as we usually do and look at whys and hows and how we can do that better.”