Opposition view: Ulster boss McFarland impressed with Saints No.8 Harrison

The heroics of Teimana Harrison were recognised by Ulster head coach Dan McFarland after his side knocked Saints out of the Challenge Cup on Saturday night.

Sunday, 11th April 2021, 1:07 pm
Teimana Harrison shone once again for Saints

Harrison produced yet another all-action showing for Saints, but it wasn't to be enough as they lost a 27-21 lead late on, eventually suffering a 35-27 defeat at Franklin's Gardens.

Ulster had plenty of work to do during the second half, failing to make their numerical advantages count as Saints were hit by three yellow cards during the first period.

But the men from Belfast eventually managed to find a way to win, scoring two tries in the final eight minutes to book their place in the semi-finals.

Nevertheless, McFarland still found time to praise the contribution of Saints No.8 Harrison.

“They are a very strong and dangerous side and we knew they would test us," McFarland said.

"Their No.8 Teimana Harrison was everywhere in that first half-hour and caused us no end of problems.

“We felt a bit sorry for ourselves at half-time as we knew we should have put more points on the board in the first half but we knew at half-time they had to turn up the physicality and our back row were magnificent.

"Not since earlier in the season have we been tested (like this) but this is a group of players who have been to the well in tight games over the course of the last three years so they know how to win in tight situations.

"They know how to show a bit of bite when it goes down to the wire and they did that.

"We had a lot to talk about at half-time and winning the physical battle was one thing we needed to get a grip of and making sure we didn't lose the breakdowns was a second thing we needed to get a grip of and we did all that in the second half.

"The players were more annoyed than the coaches at half-time.

"It was pretty clear what we had to do, it wasn't complicated and we actually felt quite good going into the second half in that the area we needed to improve is a part of our game we pride ourselves on, so it didn't take much sorting out."

Ulster will now take their place in the final four along with Leicester, Bath and the winners of the tie between Montpellier and Benetton.

"It's great (making the last four)," McFarland said.

"I just want to be in a semi-final, whoever we play.

"We talked about being disappointed and not getting play-off games in the PRO14 because of the nature of the competition this year.

"We said we wanted to play them (knockout games) and we've now had a chance over the last two weeks.

"It's cup rugby, it's all or nothing and the lads have risen to the occasion against two really big (Premiership) clubs.

"We'll look forward to the semi-final, a semi-final in Europe is a great place to be."