Sunday 18 February 2018

We showed character - Anscombe

Ruan Pienaar kicked all nine points for Ulster in their victory
Ruan Pienaar kicked all nine points for Ulster in their victory

Ulster boss Mark Anscombe praised the spirit of his team after they boosted their chances of a home tie in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup with a scrappy 9-8 victory over Castres at Stade Pierre-Antoine.

Although not at their best, they came from behind to win courtesy of three Ruan Pienaar penalties.

Castres were on top early on, and Anscombe admitted his team struggled, saying: "We were very flat in the first half, we kept giving the ball away and couldn't get our line-out going. It wasn't pretty. They don't make it easy for you but the character of the guys saw us through in the end."

The visitors trailed 8-6 at the break - following Remi Lamerat's early try - and knew they needed to improve in the second half.

Anscombe added: "I said at half-time that if we get the ball and play some rugby, work on that and be patient, opportunities would come.

"We couldn't come here and expect to score four tries, but there were opportunities and holes in Castres. We just needed to take a bit more care with the ball."

Pienaar came to Ulster's rescue, kicking the penalty that gave his side their first win in the competition on French soil.

"The character has been the hallmark of the side for the entire season so far, and we showed the strength of our character in the second half," said Anscombe.

"It was good to tick that box and get that first win in France in the Heineken Cup."

Press Association

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