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Iain Henderson believes Ulster Rugby’s inability to kill off the opposition has cost them in their unsuccessful European Rugby Champions Cup campaign.
Despite sitting bottom of Pool 5, the Irish side are two points behind second-placed Exeter Chiefs who play runaway leaders ASM Clermont Auvergne.
The French side sealed their progression to the knock-out stages last Sunday and with the Chiefs up against it this weekend, it opens the door for the winner of the clash between Ulster and Bordeaux to finish the pool on a hight despite their hopes of qualification being over.
“I think we have to go back and have a good, hard look at ourselves and reassess what we're doing in training and reassess what we're delivering as a group of players,” Ulster star Henderson said.
“We need to change our mindset to ensure we become a great team at taking opportunities.”
Les Kiss’ men have dominated the attacking stats in recent games, but their wastefulness cost them again against Exeter in the Champions Cup last weekend.
Irish forward Henderson says Ulster must put games to bed in the future, starting with Bordeaux on Saturday.
“The likes of Stuart McCloskey and Charles Piutau are putting us in good positions, the forwards are too,” he added. “We are making opportunities, but aren't finishing enough of them.
“We've been doing the difficult parts, but the easy part of it may just be the last pass or cleaning a breakdown and that's where we've let ourselves down.
“We've done all the right things to get to that point, it's just ensuring that we as players have the ability and know-how to finish our opportunities off.”
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Bordeaux Begles piled more misery on Ulster Rugby with a 22-26 victory in their European Rugby Champions Cup encounter at Kingspan Stadium.
Two late penalties from replacement Simon Hickey did the business for the French side as they ended the pool stages on a high and left Ulster contemplating back-to-back defeats.
Bordeaux were outscored three tries to two but still came out on top as the boot of Ian Madigan and Hickey’s late salvo off the bench saw them come out on top.
With the two teams unable to make the quarter-finals, both decided to go hell for leather from the off and the result was an entertaining encounter.
The first half hour saw two tries apiece, the away side the ones to open the scoring. Scrum-half Yann Lesgourgues crossed for Bordeaux’s first, Irish fly-half Madigan converting on his return to home soil.
Ulster were disappointing in defeat to Exeter in their last encounter and their concession of an early try spurred them into life. Andrew Trimble hit back in the 19th minute, Paddy Jackson adding the extras to level the scores, but that didn’t stop the rate of scoring.
Within five minutes Cardiff Blues-bound lock Franco Van der Merwe and Bordeaux No 8 Marco Tauleigne had exchanged scores with Madigan succeeding with his conversion where international team-mate Jackson could not.
Madigan had earlier booted penalties in both the second and 32nd minute but after Bordeaux full-back Geoffrey Cros was yellow carded on the verge of half time for slowing down the ball with Ulster pushing for the line, Jackson kicked another goal to narrow his team’s interval deficit to five points.
With a man advantage at the start of the second period, Ulster had designs on getting back into things but a raft of changes hit their momentum.
David Shanahan and Robbie Diack were among those to leave the field, and the substitutions played a big part in a scoreless first 19 minutes after the break.
But just before the hour mark, Ulster secured a vital score as outside centre Darren Cave crashed over.
Jackson converted to put the Irishmen ahead going into the final quarter and at that stage everything pointed to a home win in the last round of pool matches.
Ulster, though, have been struggling of late and they failed to close out the game once again.
In the final 10 minutes they coughed up two penalties which Hickey converted to give the visitors the win.