Wednesday 21 February 2018

Rory Best: I stand by decision not to take put points on the board

Rory Best of Ulster is tackled by Toulon's Romain Taofifenua at the Kingspan stadium.
Rory Best of Ulster is tackled by Toulon's Romain Taofifenua at the Kingspan stadium.

Declan Whooley and David Kelly

Ulster captain Rory Best has defended the decision not to take first-half points on offer against Toulon as his team slipped to their second defeat of the pool stages.

Ulster's hopes of reaching the knockout stages are now hanging by a thread after failing to claim a losing bonus point after Ian Humphireis late penalty from distance fell short as champions Toulon left Ravenhill with a 23-13 victory.

Trailing 6-3 in the first half two minutes before the interval, Ulster spurned a kick at goals and decided to take the line-out. Toulon then turned over the ball and moved down field and would lead at the break 16-3 after Bryan Habana touched down in injury-time.

"It’s a tricky wind, it felt like a 50-50," the Lions international revealed." We’ve faith in Paddy. I stand by the decision. It took the pressure off him. Ultimately we won the lineout, we set the maul, we went around the corner but they turned us over."

"We still feel the maul was sacked illegally. You live and die by those decisions. Even at 6-3, we would have been more than comfortable going in at half-time with that."

Best lamented that it was the turnovers that cost the home side dearly in the end.

"They did well at the breakdown and turned us over a lot. They turned us over at key moments, we won’t be happy with the clean outs and our targets, we weren’t able to get at their men before they became a threat. With players like that, if you let get them set, they’re very hard to shift."

Coach Neil Doak admitted afterwards that Habana's try was a killer blow but acknowledged that power of Toulon.

"We weren’t as accurate there as we could have been," he said.

"It’s difficult. There’s the potential to pick up 20 points, four games still left. We know we have to go to Toulon which is a tough ask. It makes last week disappointing, the fact that we didn’t get more return from Leicester."

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