Close sidebar

Rory Best identifies the main issue with Ulster’s exciting backline

rory best

Rory Best believes the main issue facing Ulster’s talented young backline is their lack of knowledge when it comes to closing out games.

Ulster claimed a 34-31 win against Clermont Auvergne in their final pool match of the Heineken Champions Cup, which saw them secure second place in Pool A behind Racing 92.

The northern province came alarmingly close to throwing away a 22-point lead, however, as Clermont scored three tries in the space of six minutes, to set up an extremely nervy final five minutes for Ulster.

Although Ulster did manage to hold on in the end, Best described the late capitulation as “disappointing” on RTE’s Game On and insisted that his former side would have to be better going forward.

Rory Best on Ulster’s performance against Clermont.

“It was a bit disappointing. It’s been a little bit like that with Ulster this season, they race into a lead and probably the last quarter of the game, they’ll be disappointed with how they see things out,” Best said.

“I think the problem is with this really young backline, they’re learning and they’re also trying to figure out how to close games out. They’re going to have to be better and they’re certainly going to have to be better against Toulouse where every point counts.

“From an Ulster point of view, when you look at the first 60 minutes and even the first 65 minutes, they were really good against Clermont, who even at halftime were holding on by a thread to be in that game.

“It was encouraging to see how Ulster blew them away at the start of the second half but a little bit frustrating to see how they’d sat back.”

Toulouse await the northern province in the last 16.

Although Ulster guaranteed themselves a home quarter-final should they make it past the round of 16 by coming second in their pool, they have been landed with an extremely difficult two-legged encounter with Toulouse.

Toulouse finished seventh in Pool B, as they won one and lost one of their two matches, while their other two games were cancelled, but they are far better than their placing in the pool suggests, having won the Champions Cup and Top 14 last year.

Ulster’s backline has been one of the most positive aspects of their season, as youngsters like James Hume, Robert Baloucoune, Mike Lowry and Nathan Doak have excelled, but their defence against Clermont in the closing stages of the game left plenty to be desired.

Read More About: ,