Ulster coach Neil Doak left frustrated by same problems after latest defeat

Wiehahn Herbst, with the support of Franco van der Merwe, left, Ulster, goes over to score a try
Wiehahn Herbst, with the support of Franco van der Merwe, left, Ulster, goes over to score a try

It was the same old story for Ulster as they suffered another defeat on the road, this time against their nemesis, Leinster.

Head coach Neil Doak took his depleted squad to Dublin and like so many other bosses returned to Belfast beaten.

Ulster have only won once in Dublin since 1999 and this latest reverse was the result of something which is continuing to hurt the side this season - ill discipline and lack of a clinical edge.

Leinster needed to win and aided by poor Ulster finishing in the first half, ill discipline at the end of the front 40 and a bit of individual brilliance from Ireland outhalf, Ian Madigan, got over the line even if the final scoreline was somewhat flattering.

Ulster have now lost four PRO12 games away from home on the bounce and this latest defeat saw them slip to fifth place again.

Fortunately, the leaders Ospreys and second placed Glasgow Warriors also suffered losses which leaves things tight at the top of the table with eight points separating first and sixth place.

A yellow card for Dan Tuohy right at the end of the first half allowed Leinster to go in at the break 9-6 ahead and a try minutes in from the opportunistic Madigan made it 16-6 and Ulster never recovered even if they did hit back with a first try for Wiehahn Herbst.

Ulster failed to make the most of their first half dominance and paid the price for it once again.

Doak said: “It was probably the best rugby we have played all season in that first half.

“To be fair to the guys, we worked on things this week in training. We were looking to play with more tempo and conditions today eluded to that, the last month or so has been difficult enough in damp conditions.

“We saw today when we get the ball and keep the tempo high that we can cause problems.

“Leinster are a decent side at home and we just needed to finish off a couple of opportunities.

“Discipline is key away from home as well and we just allowed them to get that scoreboard ticking along.

“Obviously it is hard enough playing 15 against the top sides without going down to 14

“To be fair the boys did well when Dan (Tuohy) was off. They held the fort well, scored the try and got back in at 16-11 and then it is just frustrating missed a few kicks at goal, eight points again.

Doak added: “It hurts you especially in these top line games, you just have to keep as close to these teams as possible and a little bit of ill discipline gives the nudge ahead - today it was them.

“Leinster dominated the back end of the game to be fair, they got an eight point lead and we tried to force the issue a little bit and were not as accurate as we could have been.

“We did back up a few mistakes with a turnover, with a penalty but then allowed them to get territory in our ‘22’.

“The score at the end we had soaked up the pressure and I guess it showed.”

Although Tommy Bowe was forced off, Doak said he did not expect him to be added to the injury list.

“That is the last thing we need,” he added.