Dan McFarland hails ‘magnificent’ Ulster

Date published: November 28 2021 - Planet Rugby

Head coach Dan McFarland praised his Ulster players following their stunning victory over Leinster on Saturday.

They secured their first away win over the Irish giants since 2013 after claiming a 20-10 triumph in Dublin.

The result came after McFarland laid into his side following their last United Rugby Championship match a month ago, which saw them hammered 36-11 by Connacht.

Ulster’s boss duly had the desired response and admitted that their loss to the Galway outfit played a positive part in their display at the RDS Arena.

Spark to the fire

“Physically we did not play to the level we needed (against Connacht), there was a complete general consensus that that was the case and four weeks is a long time to be sitting and thinking that you did not earn the respect you needed,” McFarland told reporters.

“There was definitely an element of that adding a spark to the fire. It was a catalyst for our motivation coming into this game. It was probably only one spark among many.

“Playing Leinster in Dublin is the ultimate test in our league, it is as simple as that. If you can’t set your fire for that then what can you set your fire for?

“We knew what we had to do and it is a huge ask, and to be fair to the lads and the preparation they put in during the week, I thought they did a magnificent job.”

Ulster also had to deal with the setback of missing two of their coaches for this clash due to Covid protocols.

“We did have a couple of coaches missing for the week but one of the points I made during the week is that it is a testament to them as coaches and to the players in general that the work they do and put onto the field at the beginning of the week was seamlessly brought through at the end of the week,” he added.

“One of the big things you often hear is the players have to grasp what they are doing and take control. It is a fancy word that management use – it is called empowerment – and I don’t really like the word.

“I just think it is taking responsibility for what you have got to do.

“Every club works on that and the work the coaches did this week was magnificent in their preparation as it always is. It was interesting that the group pulls together when there are little, tough things that happen like that.

“They don’t become major things. We plough on. We get on with that.

“I actually quite like those little things that make it difficult – it could be travel problems, disruption during the week with facilities. The last while it has been Covid.

“I actually quite like the tests they set because fellas get used to things and then they get suddenly hit with things and it makes it more fun to see how people react to that.”