Conditions at Kingspan Stadium for Ulster against Cardiff was never going to produce a free flowing game of rugby but two second half penalties from scrum half John Cooney nudged the home side to a 16-12 victory with flanker Sean Reidy admitting the game was an arm wrestle.
“It was especially in that first half,” said Reidy.
“They really came at us and conditions played into their hands a little bit and they came out and were very physical.
“We got a bit of access in that second half through our maul and I think that really got us into the game.
“I think the backrow went pretty well, I’ve been playing with the boys, Marcell (Coetzee) and Jordi (Murphy) and then we’ve got Nick (Timoney) there as well.
“I think we all complement each other, we all work hard for each other, everyone has got their strengths and everyone works hard for the team so that’s all you can ask,” Reidy added.
Ulster had to do some soul searching at half time after being outscored by two tries to one in the opening period.
“The message was plain and simple we just had to front-up as a forward pack, we had to be more physical, they were getting the upper hand in those collisions in the breakdown area in the first half,” said Reidy.
“We knew we could get a bit of access through our scrum and maul and we got that through our maul so I’m pretty happy with that.”
The win lifts Ulster seven points clear of their nearest rival in the race for the Conference B play-off spots.
“It’s a bit of a shame we didn’t play to our full potential last week (against the Scarlets) as we’d be higher up there (the table),” said Reidy.
“But we just try and take it week on week and try to get better each week and move our way up that ladder as high as we can.
“At the end of the season you want to be in semi-final contention but you know those home semi-finals are critical.”
Ulster now turn their attentions to the back-to-back European Champions Cup games with the Scarlets, after defeat against Racing 92 last time out Dan McFarland’s side can’t afford any slips ups.
Ulster were in Llanelli before the Cardiff game and were comprehensively beaten and Reidy knows they will have to be a huge improvement on Friday night.
“We’ve got a few players back, they’ve got a few players back so it’s going to be a big game,” said Reidy.
“The Champions Cup games are the ones we want to play in, these are the ones that get you going ‘I’m looking forward to it’.”
“We’ve got to be on the money, if we’re not and not playing well they’ll punish us.
“They are a pretty dangerous side especially on the edges there, they’ve got some deadly players so we’ve got to be up for it.”
After the second game at Kingspan Stadium Ulster will have face the Scarlets three times in four weeks.
“By next week we’ll know each other pretty well and by the last game we’ll know each other even better - it’s comes down to who can do the little things best,” he said.
“We have to negate what they bring and they’ll be the same.”
Meanwhile, Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac admitted if his side had won in Glasgow it would have been “an injustice.”
Scarlets who had Alex Allan red-carded after 20 minutes - rallied to come from 26-8 down to eventually lose 29-20 at Scotstoun.
“At the moment we’re happy with our form at home and not happy with our form on the road- that has to change.”