Sharks 22-12 Ulster: Ritchie Murphy says Ulster have 'work to do' but he can see way forward

Ulster interim head coach Ritchie Murphy says Ulster have "work to do" after a 22-12 defeat to Sharks in Durban.

After a positive start, the visitors conceded three tries to the South African side, who had only won one game this season before Saturday's match.

"We put some phases together and put them under pressure but we couldn't consistently do it," Murphy said.

Ulster face Stormers in Cape Town next week, hoping to secure a play-off spot.

"It was a really tough 80 minutes. I thought we actually started reasonably well and got into the game," Murphy added.

"We probably weren't quick enough [at the breakdown] to get there at times. We didn't look after the ball quite well enough, and I suppose in those turnovers, kick-chase areas, we can be a little bit tidier.

"It's our first game together as a group with me, and I suppose we have a bit of work to do over the next couple of weeks but we can see a way forward."

Harry Sheridan's try inside the opening ten minutes had given Ulster the perfect start in Durban but they found themselves level at the break after Phepsis Buthelezi's try.

After the interval, Eduan Keyter helped push Sharks ahead and while Ulster's Kieran Treadwell scored to keep the visitors in touching distance, Bongi Mbonambi's try sealed the win for the Sharks.

'These are things we can fix'

The fixtures in South Africa are the first under the helm of Murphy, who replaced Dan McFarland as head coach until the end of the season.

On this first outing under his leadership, flanker David McCann agreed with Murphy's assessment that the future does look positive.

"I thought we started and showed glimpse of where we want to get to," McCann said after the defeat.

"Ultimately, I don't think our breakdown was good enough so it's disappointing, but it's not something that we cannot fix.

"We got turnovers and we put them under pressure but ultimately we couldn't bring them through multi-phase.

"We were our own worst enemy and we turned over the ball too easily so it's disappointing, but these are things we can fix, and moving forward, I find it quite exciting because it's just that little one or two percent."