Neil Doak hails Ulster spirit after bonus-point win over Scarlets

Head coach delighted with victory that keeps alive Ulster's hopes of escaping from their European pool of death

Neil Doak praised Ulster Rugby after a bonus-point 24-9 win over the Scarlets at the Kingspan Stadium.

The Ulster head coach saw his side take advantage of a woeful performance from the Welsh region to secure their first win in the European Champions Cup this season.

“We knew what we needed to get done and I’m very happy with that,” Doak said.

“Credit to the guys, they stuck at it. When we played territory we put them under pressure and got the scores on the board.

“We got the bonus point and it keeps us in the mix and if we can pick something up [in Llanelli] it means the last two games could be in better reach than the first two were.”

Indiscipline from the visitors to Belfast saw flanker James Davies sin-binned after 13 minutes. During his 10 minutes cooling off, Ulster had racked up 14 points with tries from Darren Cave and Ruan Pienaar, with outside-half Ian Humphreys landing both conversion attempts.

Wales full-back Liam Williams, a serial offender, also found himself yellow carded before the first half was done, but the Welsh region managed not to capitulate again.

Credit to the guys, they stuck at it. When we played territory we put them under pressure and got the scores on the board.

Neil Doak

Rhys Priestland landed his third penalty on 56 minutes to reduce the arrears to five points, but any hopes the Scarlets had of returning to Llanelli with anything from the match was dashed as former Ospreys wing Tommy Bowe went over for Ulster’s third try on 60 minutes, and nine minutes later captain Rory Best went over for the bonus-point try.

Pienaar was also given some time on the sideline by the referee late in the match, but the Scarlets lacked the creativity to carve out a try-scoring opportunity.

The impressive win was tainted somewhat by a number of injuries with Stuart Olding, Stuart McCloskey, Franco van der Merwe, Nick Williams and Wiehahn Herbst all forced off.

“A few boys aren’t looking good for next week,” Doak added. “We’ll have to see how they come through over the next 48 hours.

“It was key we got the bonus and it gives us a fighting chance next time.”

The reverse fixture sees Ulster face the Scarlets at the Parc y Scarlets next Sunday.

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