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McLaughlin: Bonus point could be crucial

Guinness PRO12 Editor

20 Feb 2012

Ulster head coach Brian McLaughlin is hoping Ruan Pienaar’s 71st minute penalty against Cardiff Blues will prove crucial in his side’s hunt for a RaboDirect PRO12 play-off spot.

Sixth placed Ulster lost 21-14 at the Arms Park on Friday but Pienaar’s strike brought them to within seven points of the hosts and bonus-point territory.

But had Cardiff fly-half Dan Parks not missed from the tee in the last minute that point would have evaporated and McLaughlin was left counting his lucky stars.

“It is going to be very tight but that bonus point tonight could prove crucial,” he said.

“We’re still in with a shout.

“It shows you how far we’ve come that we can come to a place like this and be very, very disappointed not to come home with more.”

Second in the table Ospreys are next up for Ulster and they will travel to Ravenhill buoyed by their latest four-try performance against Aironi and McLaughlin knows his side’s finishing must improve to stand a chance this Friday.

“I think if you look at the game, whenever we got into the opposition 22 we weren’t ruthless enough,” he added.

“We had chance after chance but we weren’t able to convert the pressure that we had into points.

“And as a result that opened the door for Cardiff.

“But we have to learn – we will get on the training paddock this week and make sure we are back on form for Ospreys next weekend.”