‘Poor kicking cost us’ – Solomons reflects on Ulster defeat

Alan Solomons bemoaned his side’s kicking performance after suffering a narrow 20-17 to Ulster at BT Murrayfield on Friday.

Despite scoring the opening try and leading at half-time, Edinburgh struggled considerably in the second period, ultimately conceding a further 10 points to the visitors.

The sending off of Ulster’s Stuart McCloskey and a further sin-binning for Franco van der Merwe gave Edinburgh ample opportunities to secure an unlikely victory.

But poor kicking and a lack of composure in key areas of the field ensured that Edinburgh were confined to a first home defeat in ten games.

As Solomons stated post-match, the frustration lay principally with Edinburgh’s inability play an effective kicking game, both out of hand and off the tee.

“I think overall on the game – Ulster lost a man to a red card and another to a yellow card – but I think we should have won to be honest.

“Our kicking was a major factor in costing us that game. Our kicking out of hand wasn’t good enough and there were twelve points that we left out there,” said Solomons.

“Then at the end key errors – two skewed lineouts – cost us so it’s very disappointing. We should have won that match.”

Fly-half Tom Heathcote had a disappointing match overall, missing a total of six kicks at goal, while his kicking counterpart Pienaar maintained a 100% record.

Testament to how poorly Edinburgh played the aerial dual – which characterised large amounts of an ebb-and-flow game – a simple missed touch finder from full back Jack Cuthbert eventually led to Ulster scoring points.

“You take a simple thing like kicking out of hand, we had a kick down the touchline and we missed touch. They eventually went through a few phases and got a penalty and three points for no reason.”

Solomons, threatening to blow a gasket in frustration post-match also spoke of his disappointment of squandered chances in the dying stages of the match.

“Our execution wasn’t accurate in terms of the kicking and lineout,” said Solomons.

“Even though they didn’t contest the second one we had three lineouts on their line. The chances of scoring were very high. We just messed it up.”

“Even the one they stood off, one of our players just lost the ball over the line. We created three opportunities, we messed them up and missed two lineout throws.”

But while publicly expressing his exasperation of the performance, Solomons praised the efforts of his players, in particular hooker Neil Cochrane who played through injury for a large portion of the game.

“Neil was injured. He suffered a strained rib and he was struggling. There was nothing we could do, he was battling.”

“In the first half he had it and we pushed him through for as long as we could, but there was nothing we could do,” Solomons said.

“If we kept him on, he would have ended up getting a serious injury and being out for weeks and weeks.”

“I thought he played really well,” said Solomons.

Edinburgh also had to cope with the loss of Captain Mike Coman, who left the field at half-time.

“Mike went off with back spasms at half-time. So obviously that wasn’t great to lose your Captain but it’s just one of those things.”

“But then again we made up for it because they had the 13 men and we had chances to score and we didn’t take them.”

Similarly, Edinburgh full back Jack Cuthbert did not try to hide his frustration with the performance, and says that the Capital side will need to improve for next weekend’s clash with Cardiff in Wales.

“When you play a top team like Ulster, you can’t afford to be sloppy. They’ll punish you.

“They’ve got a pretty vicious rush defence and they tend to force errors out of you as well.

“We tried to stick to our guns but there were a few inaccuracies at the lineout. We didn’t really help ourselves tonight.

“We’ll learn from that and hopefully we can take it into the next game.”

Image: keitheaston.blogspot.com

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