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McLaughlin Pleased With ‘Great Defensive Effort’

McLaughlin Pleased With ‘Great Defensive Effort’

After last Friday’s encouraging 20-3 RaboDirect PRO12 victory over Cardiff, Ulster head coach Brian McLaughlin spoke to the province’s website about the performance and next weekend’s trip to the Ospreys.

It was Ulster’s third victory in as many matches in this season’s RaboDirect PRO12, leaving them, reigning champions Munster and Welsh side the Ospreys as the only unbeaten teams left in the competition.

Brian McLaughlin has been heartened by how his players have gone about their business with so many key men away at the Rugby World Cup.

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Particularly pleased with last Friday’s victory, he proclaimed: “I’m exceptionally happy. Cardiff are one of the better teams in the competition and considering they scored eight tries in their first two games, for us to shut them out is a great achievement. It was a great defensive effort.

“Our set piece play was much improved and that set the platform for our attack. We looked dangerous when we had the ball in hand and played with a good tempo.

“One of our tries was an unbelievable set piece play so all credit to (backs coach) Neil (Doak) and the boys.”

The Ulster supremo was also happy with Jared Payne’s first outing for Ulster, adding: “I think the fact that we didn’t rush him into action and he came with us to Aironi the week before helped him a great deal.

“He had a very solid debut and showed glimpses of what he is capable of. He made a couple of breaks and put in a few clever grubber kicks at the right times to put the Blues under pressure.”

Looking ahead to the Ospreys fixture in Swansea next Sunday, McLaughlin is confident his side can continue their winning ways.

“The Ospreys have won all their games so far this season too so it will be another tough game for us.

“If we play as well as we have been I see no reason why we can’t get another win and that would put us in a really strong position. We lost by a point to them last season so there’s no doubt it will be another big challenge for us.”

Meanwhile, backs Darren Cave (leg) and Ian Humphreys (shoulder) will have scans to determine the extent of their injuries picked up during the Cardiff game.