Ulster coach Dan McFarland rues missed opportunity

Ulster were knocked out of European Challenge Cup by Leicester Tigers
Ulster were knocked out of European Challenge Cup by Leicester Tigers

Ulster head coach Dan McFarland admitted that Leicester's kicking game in the second half put them under pressure as the Irish side were knocked out of the European Challenge Cup with a semi-final defeat to the Tigers.

Ulster had a 17-6 lead by the 22nd minute following tries from Iain Henderson and Billy Burns and were aided by yellow card to Tom Youngs but they let the game slip in the second half with Leicester fighting back through touchdowns from Jasper Wiese, Ellis Genge and Guy Porter while George Ford contributed with 10 points as the Premiership side sealed a 33-24 win to set up a final against Montpellier.

“They wrestled the laurels from us with their excellent kicking game and put us under pressure there and momentum is an amazing thing,” said McFarland.

“We missed an opportunity at the end of the first half to go nearly 20 points up when we missed touch into the corner and then in the second half we came out and they got that first score after we had kicked the ball straight into touch.

“That was the swing in momentum they needed.

“It was really unusual for us because our kicking game has been really excellent and one of the things we’ve done really well is manage that aerial dogfight and the kicking battle.

“Their kicking game was superb throughout the game, ours dropped off and as a consequence they won.”