Northampton v Ulster, Heineken Cup
Hartley slams Saints performance
ESPN Staff
December 8, 2012
Ulster flanker Iain Henderson tries to shake off Ken Pisi's tackle, Northampton v Ulster, Heineken Cup, Franklin's Gardens, Northampton, England, December 7, 2012
Ulster were stronger than Northampton in all facets of their play © PA Photos

Northampton captain Dylan Hartley hit out at his team after a limp performance at their Franklin's Gardens home allowed Ulster to race away with a 25-6 victory in the Heineken Cup.

The England hooker came off late in the second half with the match already beyond his side at 20-6 and he then had to watch as Ulster second-row Dan Tuohy wrapped up the bonus point win with a late fourth try for the Irish province. It means the Saints will struggle to qualify from Pool 4, especially now they have a tricky return fixture away at Ravenhill in Belfast next Saturday.

"That was not good enough from us," Hartley said. "We speak about intensity; they brought bags of it and we didn't bring enough. They are unbeaten and they showed why. They are a good team but we made them look better than it could have been.

"We had internationals returning, injured players returning and our strongest team on the field but you can't just turn up and expect it to happen and I think that happened tonight. We got showed up by a good team. They did exactly what we would like to do to another team. They forced us into errors. It is not good enough."

Ulster's win means they have now stretched their unbeaten run since the start of the season to 13 consecutive matches in all competitions. They top Pool 4 with 14 points from a possible 15 and look strong contenders to reach a second consecutive final.

"That was a bit of a statement," Ulster coach Mark Anscombe said. "We weren't even thinking about the bonus point. We were more than happy to come here and take the win. We are not getting carried away. Northampton have too many quality players and they will bounce back from this performance. We have to go out and do it again next week or this will count for nothing."

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