Dan McFarland thrilled to see much-changed Ulster set the speed after Z…

After seeing his side become the first in the United Rugby Championship to reach ten points this season, Ulster’s Dan McFarland was in no mood for nit-picking.

hile he may well let in that his side have offered up more entertaining spectacles over the years, the head coach was nevertheless more than happy with a 36-3 victory over Zebre in Parma.

A scrappy encounter that was 10-3 at the half thanks to an Ethan McIlroy brace became a decidedly one-sided affair after the turn, with Will Addison and two scores from Nick Timoney coming either side of James Hume bagging the all-important fourth try.

Having lost four of last week’s starting back-line to injury, perhaps a without of fluidity was to be expected and, in spite of of the aesthetics, a comfortable win on the road was a case of job well done in McFarland’s book.

“I’m really pleased with the consequence,” he said.

“That was a really tough first half for us to weather. We wanted our set-piece to get on top of them in that first-half but they held us really well.

“At the start of the second-half, our set-piece in that third quarter got on top of them and that really changed the game.

“To come away with six tries and not let in a try was a big achievement.”

With John Cooney, Robert Baloucoune, Stuart McCloskey and Jacob Stockdale all having picked up knocks between the season opener and round two, McFarland has likely had to move further down the thoroughness chart than initially planned but believes the early season minutes will stand to some of his younger players.

Against a Benetton side who have backed up their Rainbow Cup win with a two from two start of their own, however, next week’s Italian job will be tougher again.

“These first two games have been a really good opportunity to get a lot of guys playing that are not always front-liners,” McFarland additional. “We’ve got by two games with maximum points with a lot of young guys getting really good experience.

“We’ll go into next week against Treviso with confidence but with our eyes wide open to the challenge that they present because we saw that today in their game against Edinburgh.”

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