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Monday Feb 19, 2024

Ulster coach under fire for post match comments

Ulster Rugby head coach Dan McFarland has come under fire for comments he made in the wake of his team’s recent loss to the Ospreys in the United Rugby Championship.

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Leading with five seconds to play, Ulster fell foul of a superbly taken drop goal from Ospreys flyhalf Dan Edwards.

Cooly slotting the three points, all the Ospreys had to do was handle the kick-off, which they did expertly to seal a crucial victory.

Unfortunately for Ulster, the result is not the first of its kind this season in terms of disappointment, with the men from Belfast enduring several heavy defeats.

Sprinkled in between these results have been some exceptional performances, namely victories over Racing 92 and Leinster.

Yet it is the lack of consistency that seems to be irking Ulster fans the most, and McFarland’s response after the Ospreys match did little to quell fears that Ulster’s season is in a rather precarious position.

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Speaking post-match, McFarland said, “Ultimately, the game came down to two instances, both where we were in control.” before continuing “One in their 22 where they got an intercept pass and the second one was at the end of the game where we were in total control and a referring decision called a scrum on the back of a maul.”

Clearly frustrated by the call, McFarland said, “I have literally no idea what that was about, you see that every week.

“I’m going to ask and find out because, ultimately, those two instances decided the game in the Osprey’s favour.” He concluded.

 

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The interview caused somewhat of a storm online with many saying that McFarland should not be blaming the match officials for his team’s collapse.

 

Leading the charge for frustrated former Ulster players was Ireland stalwart Stephen Ferris who tweeted, Any Ulster fan that wants to know why things aren’t going to plan, just remember it’s the referees fault….”

For McFarland this incident follows on from a previous incident where the coach labelled Ulster’s training standard as “not good enough” back in early December 2023.

“The answer lies in going away and training at a level that you expect the highest standards,” he said of his side’s uneven seven-game stretch to start the season.

“Training is easier than a match in the physical sense of it, not in the speed sense of it, but in the physical sense. We need to improve the level of our training. That’s the bottom line. All of us need to pick up and drive forward.

“We trained really well on Thursday but we didn’t train very well on Tuesday. Training has been a little bit up and down. A lot of that is down to the cohesion element. There’s been a lot of chop and change, also changing the way that we’re playing.

“But now we should be better. We need to be consistently more accurate in training now.

“The first chunk of the season, there was the changing round, moving positions, people in and out, yeah that’s understandable, but now the last two or three weeks we’ve had more of the same people on the pitch and as coaches we need to push that in training, push better standards, better accuracy.”

Ulster fans, what do you feel needs to change to get the team back on track? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook.

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