Ulster head coach Dan McFarland refused to blame star winger Jacob Stockdale after his fumbled touchdown cost his side dearly in their Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final defeat to Leinster.
McFarland said that there was an air of ‘desperate disappointment’ in the Ulster changing room following the defeat.
“There’s a lot of guys in the dressing rooms with their heads down. We felt that we could have won that game,” McFarland told the reporters. “Falling short is desperately disappointing.”
When queried about what ultimately cost his side, a question he felt was a reference to Stockdale’s mishap, McFarland was defiant.
“I know what you want me to say and I’m not going to say it.
"This, unfortunately for Jacob Stockdale, is unforgivable!"
A cruel, cruel blow for Ulster. pic.twitter.com/851lr4WwkM
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) March 30, 2019
“There’s not many people in the world that can beat that many players. I’m proud of Jacob. That’s not the reason we lost the game.
“He’s really, really disappointed. The only reason he’s disappointed is the fact that he could get into that position.
“It’s probably 3mm off his finger. It’s a small thing. Chaos theory will tell you, it could have been any one small thing.”
“Our contact work wasn’t good enough. Leinster stole a few balls off us.”
“We didn’t deserve to win,” although he admitted that: “We took them by surprise with our physicality.”
Secondrow Iain Henderson lamented the Belfast based side’s seeming inability to take their game to the next level.
“We took steps on route to getting to that next level. I’m pretty proud of the guys.
“Ultimately we didn’t take it.”
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