Ulster win but need to learn from game management error
Will Addison did not delay his late penalty and allowed Racing to restart the match
Ulster’s Will Addison kicks a penalty against Racing 92. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Ulster’s 26-22 victory over Racing 92 could very nearly have gone the other way.
With less than a minute remaining at Kingspan stadium, Ulster were awarded a penalty that Will Addison decided to shoot for goal. Acting inside the allotted time for a place-kicker (60 seconds) and presuming the ball goes dead, the game should have ended but Addison’s strike sailed between the posts with a few seconds still remaining so Racing were allowed restart the match.
“A little bit [of a game management error],” Ulster coach Dan McFarland conceded afterwards.
“He should have waited until the game was over and then kick the points.
“The message was there. It might have been a timing thing from Will’s point of view. It’s not something we will dwell on, we won. It will be a learning. We will win, and learn.”
Was it a breakdown in communication?
“We are not going to dwell on that,” McFarland repeated. “Let’s move on. Next question.”
Ulster and Ireland captain Rory Best, who had been substituted by then, also saw the scope for a learning experience after beating the Parisians.
“I was on the sideline but you got to trust the boys. For Will it’s hard as he has got to focus on the time and he has got to focus on his kick as well. It got close to 80 and you were hoping [referee Matthew Carley] was going to let it go to 80. It’s hard to watch the clock and the kick. The last thing you want is the ref to get a bit persnickety and turn the ball over because you have wasted time.”
In fact, Addison could have waited until the clock went to 80 before striking the penalty and securing the same result.
“It’s hard when you are not on the pitch - we trust each other,” Best continued. “We are really trying to build leaders in that team. We will sit down as a leadership group on Monday and discuss that last passage of play and see how we can make it a little bit easier on ourselves.”
Ulster survived the error as they gathered the ball from the restart and put it out of play.
Racing’s double bonus point loss means they remain three points clear at the top of Pool 4 on 21 points. Ulster travel to Leicester next Saturday on 18 points so they possibly need a victory to reach the Champions Cup quarter-final.