Ulster Rugby head coach Dan McFarland has said Leicester Tigers’ kicking game in the second half proved to be crucial in swinging momentum towards the hosts in their European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final on Friday night. 

The Irish province led by 11 at the break but it was an inspired Leicester side who came out in the second half and eventually ran out 33-24 winners at Mattioli Woods Welford Road. 

“They wrestled the laurels from us with their excellent kicking game and put us under pressure there and momentum is an amazing thing,” McFarland said after the defeat. 

“We missed an opportunity at the end of the first half to go nearly 20 points up when we missed touch into the corner and then in the second half we came out and they got that first score after we had kicked the ball straight into touch. 

“That was the swing in momentum they needed. 

“It was really unusual for us because our kicking game has been really excellent and one of the things we’ve done really well is manage that aerial dogfight and the kicking battle.” 

“Their kicking game was superb throughout the game, ours dropped off and as a consequence they won.”