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Last Updated: Friday, 14 May, 2004, 21:58 GMT 22:58 UK
Ward proud of Ulster side
Salesi Finau stopped as he tries top break through Ulster defence
Ulster skipper Andy Ward praised his players despite losing 23-16 to the Scarlets who became the first Welsh side to lift the Celtic League title.

Although naturally disappointed at his side's failure to produce a winning formula away from home, Ward said there was a lot to take out of the season.

''We set out goals at the start of the season. We won the Celtic Cup, but came up short in the league,'' said Ward.

''But I'm extremely proud of the guys. They've been going since last July.''

Ward, who was winning his 101st cap for the province, said that this season was a new experience for his side.

''For the majority of the team, nobody has had a season like this before with so many first class games. Really it is a credit that they were able to continue right to the end.

''I felt that there was maybe a little lapse in the mental side of things at the start of the second half.

''We lost a little bit of discipline and our defensive line. But these things do happen, and this team showed what they have shown all year, and that was character.

I believe Alan Solomons has left Ulster rugby with a tremendous legacy
Andy Ward
''We fought back at the end of the game, and there was only one try in it. I'm still proud of the effort and disappointed for the fans that travelled across to Wales.

''I'm also sad for the people who are leaving us this season in that they won't be going with a league medal.

''As for departing coach Alan Solomons, I believe he has left Ulster rugby with a tremendous legacy. What he has brought to the province is phenomenal.

''He has given young players confidence and opportunity and they have gone from strength to strength.

''We finished that game with a very young side, and that's something to look forward too thanks to Alan Solomons.''

Ulster captain Andy Ward
''We lost our discipine shortly after half-time''



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