PRO12 RUGBY: Coach Neil Doak praises players as Ulster get season off to a flyer

Ulster's Paul Marshall makes a break against the Ospreys
Ulster's Paul Marshall makes a break against the Ospreys

Ulster head coach Neil Doak hailed his side for the manner of their performance which saw them dominate an Ospreys team at Kingspan Stadium and take a try-scoring bonus point 28-6 victory on Friday night.

Tries from Rob Herring, Stuart McCloskey, Wiehahn Herbst and Luke Marshall – with two penalties a conversion from McCloskey – gave the home side a deserved five-point haul, with Sam Davies responding with two penalties for the Welsh visitors.

“I thought we were very good tonight,” said Doak. “We are massively pleased to take a bonus point in our opening game.

“I thought in the first 20 minutes we were superb and the handling was great. Perhaps they did not get the points on the board that they should, but it set us up for the rest of the game.”

Ulster had eight players missing due to the World Cup, but had more than capable deputies across the squad. However, Peter Nelson usually a winger, found himself playing outhalf with Ian Humphreys and Sam Windsor both injured.

Agreeing that Nelson gave a solid performance, Doak added: “Pete has a great skill set. He showed great composure tonight in front of a big crowd. We knew he could do the job and he will ask questions of the other outhalves.

“To produce that sort of display, especially against the Ospreys who are never easy to play against was good. They are going to challenge you physically and put you under pressure if you try to play too much rugby.

“ I think we got things right tonight and we have got to make sure we back that up next week (against Scarlets).”

Doak remained optimistic of having Ian Humphreys back for next week’s difficult trip to Scarlets.

“We need to have all hands on deck as you saw tonight during this period,” added Doak, reflecting on the fact their resources were stretched to the limit in the backs department which saw replacement hooker, John Andrew coming on to the wing in the last 10 minutes.