Rory Best admitted Friday night’s 8-3 defeat to Leinster in the Guinness Pro12 was a “tough one to take” as Ulster came up short in a bruising encounter at The RDS.
Sean Cronin’s 37th-minute try proved the difference between the sides as both defences dominated a tight game.
All 11 points came in the opening half, with Jonny Sexton and Paddy Jackson trading penalties before Cronin forced his way over.
Despite earning a losing bonus point, Ulster slipped to seventh in the Pro12 standings.
“It is a tough one to take, to lose that game tonight,” Ulster skipper Best said.
“You can see the disappointment in the players coming off the pitch. The boys put their bodies on the line against a good Leinster side, and you can’t fault and effort and application.
“I think we didn’t do enough with the wind, and we played within ourselves in the first half. When we look back at it on Monday, we will be disappointed we didn’t do more.
“We tried to go at them in the second half, and we looked the better team and we were enjoying it more.
“It was a game of fine margins. Leinster got an opening and they scored.”
Despite the defeat Best said there were positives to come out of Friday night’s game.
“We never want to lose or expect to lose, but I am sure there were a lot of people outside the camp who expected Leinster to run away with it in the second half – but that’s not what we are about,” Best added. “The boys showed a lot of character, and there is a good foundation to build on.”