Thursday 29 September 2016

Williams urges Ulster to stop 'pushing things' in wrong areas

Jonathan Bradley

Published 05/01/2016 | 02:30

Nick Williams: 'Since Kissy (Les Kiss) has come in, he's trusted us to back our skills. It was wet, but you still want to give it a good crack. Sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn't' Photo: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
Nick Williams: 'Since Kissy (Les Kiss) has come in, he's trusted us to back our skills. It was wet, but you still want to give it a good crack. Sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn't' Photo: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE

Nick Williams says Ulster must find the right balance in their play if they are to book a return to the Champions Cup knockout stages.

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The province were hoping to travel to Oyonnax this weekend for their must-win Champions Cup pool game on the back of a five-game winning streak but their rich vein of form came to a shuddering halt with a home reverse to Munster on Saturday.

Having found success with a fine brand of rugby during December, Ulster were guilty of overplaying throughout the defeat, often running the ball from deep rather than opting for a more pragmatic, territory-based game.

The home side dominated possession and territory early on but handling errors, and an improved tactical showing from opposition out-half Ian Keatley, ensured a first Pro12 defeat at Kingspan since May 2014.

"We back ourselves but unfortunately we played too much footy inside our own 22," said No 8 Williams, who will depart for Cardiff at the end of this season.

"We pushed it too far; I was guilty of a few errors. If you try and push things then mistakes come off mistakes. Fair play to Munster, they dug in deep.

Momentum

"We knew we had to go to places we haven't been before but unfortunately we didn't maintain the momentum."

While the weather didn't help the quality on show in the Christmas interpros, Williams was unwilling to offer any excuses for the high error count that plagued his side on Saturday.

"You can find excuses anywhere you want," he said. "Rain hail or sunshine you still want to play decent footy.

"Since Kissy (Les Kiss) has come in, he's trusted us to back our skills. It was wet, but you still want to give it a good crack. Sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn't."

Having succumbed to one team short on confidence last week, director of rugby Kiss will demand it doesn't happen again when they face the Top 14's second-bottom team on Sunday.

Despite the mistakes made against Munster, he does want to see his players maintain their attacking ambition at Oyonnax.

"I'm not going to tell our guys not to back themselves," he said.

"We probably backed ourselves at the wrong times and in the wrong places against Munster.

"A few times maybe when we went for the three points, could we have gone to the corners and backed the maul?

"But then we were backing ourselves in our own third and weren't getting traction. The space wasn't there. We went wide two or three times when we should have kept it tighter. That's how you eke out the space."

Irish Independent

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