Ulster captain Rob Herring admits there were harsh words in the dressing room

Ulste's ''Stuart McCloskey is tackled by Scarlets Gareth Owen
Ulste's ''Stuart McCloskey is tackled by Scarlets Gareth Owen

Ulster captain Rob Herring admitted that the dressing room were given the hair dryer treatment from coach Neil Doak following the 22-12 defeat to Scarlets on Saturday.

“There were a few harsh words after that game,” admitted Herring.

“I think he (Doak) is just angry with the way we didn’t hold on to the ball and at key times as well.

“We were attacking in their 22 and there must have been three or four fumbles and loose balls in contact.

“We really want to work on when we are in the opposition ‘22’. We really want to ramp things up and be accurate there and we just weren’t there today.

“It took us a while to get going through our own errors and that took a lot of pressure off them in the first half.

“They built up a lead. We had a little but of a fight back (from 16-0 down) but it was too little too late.

“We just tried to regroup and we knew it was through our own errors that we were allowing them to score points and allowing them to take the pressure off.

“In attempting to regroup we tried to go back to basics and go through the phases which we didn’t manage to do throughout the game.

“They had three yellow cards and it was very disappointing not to capitalise on those. I think we probably tried to overplay in those periods instead of pushing them back.

“Getting the penalty try and them having another sin bin did bring flashbacks from last year’s match and we thought we could push to get a draw. We thought we had enough time after that second try but it didn’t go our way.

“We are not happy after that loss but we have got two weeks now to get it right.

“We would have liked to have gone in to the break with two wins but it wasn’t to be but that will make us more hungry in two weeks’ time.”

Meanwhile, Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac said his players’ ability to keep Ulster ball carriers Nick Williams and Stuart McCloskey quiet was the key to his side’s success.

And the New Zealander paid tribute to the behind-the-scenes work of defence coach Byron Hayward for masterminding the stop Williams and McCloskey plan.

“We put a lot of work in training to try and nullify the threat of Nick Williams and Stuart McCloskey at 12,” said Pivac.

“McCloskey was carrying strongly in the first half and was getting gain line but wasn’t making the big busts that he was making the week before (against Ospreys).

“So I think the work Byron Hayward did and the boys on the field nullified those guys to an extent which helped us ultimately win the game.”

Responding to the fact Scarlets have had six yellow cards in two games (they had three in Glasgow) Pivac smiled and said: “I never wanted to win one of those (fair play awards) but there is a balancing act isn’t there!

“We were 19-12 up with a few minutes to go, yellow cards going on – it was very similar to 12 months ago when Ulster came back to draw 32-32.

“Luckily for us we were able to control the last few minutes of the game. The penalty was important at the end to deny them a losing bonus point.

“We started well –the first 20 minutes we had the bulk of possession which was really good.

“We took the foot off the throat in the last 20 a bit but fortunately they missed a shot at goal and we turned round 9-0 up.

“The big positives of the performance were that when we are down numbers we managed to scrap for each other and dig in because last year we were giving those leads away,” added Pivac.