Champions Cup: Ulster’s Dan McFarland believes red card was ‘critical’ in his team’s loss to Toulouse

Date published: April 17 2022 - Dylan Coetzee

Ulster coach Dan McFarland believes Tom O’Toole’s red card proved costly for his side that was on the verge of knocking defending champions Toulouse out the Champions Cup.

The Belfast men took a six-point lead into the second leg of their last-16 tie and had control of the aggregate lead for much of the game at the Kingspan Stadium.

Late winner

However, O’Toole was sent off for a dangerous tackle with 16 minutes left to play, and ultimately that proved costly as Antoine Dupont scored a late try to win the tie for Toulouse 50-49.

“I think that was a critical one,” said McFarland.

“Their try at the end probably came off the back of having that extra man and being so potent when the game is stretched.

“But I also look at their two tries, we gifted them two tries through poor pieces of defence, letting guys through on inside shoulders and an intercept pass in the space of five minutes.

“Ultimately that was a big difference in the game.

“I think there was another critical call on James Hume off his feet at the breakdown which for me was just not a penalty at all. That was a pretty critical moment. “Outside of that, the red card and those two tries were the difference between the two teams.”

Ulster was close to advancing in the competition, and McFarland believes his side could have won, but Toulouse won the critical moments.

“It puts us out of the competition,” McFarland said.

“The game was there for us to win, we won over there last week. We should have won by 13 points last week.

“Here we’re in the game competing with them and the game was decided because we did a few critical things that were wrong.

“Teams do that obviously but if you want to win at this level against sides of the quality of Toulouse, you can’t afford to make those mistakes. It happens but on the day today we didn’t quite get it right.”

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