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Ulster Head Coach Dan McFarland has refused to blame Jacob Stockdale for his side's Heineken Champions Cup exit after the winger knocked-on an almost certain try against Leinster on Saturday.

Ulster pushed provincial rivals Leinster to the brink in a pulsating clash in Dublin only to fall three point short, losing 21-18.

Speaking to Off The Ball's Connor Morris after the match, McFarland praised his players despite the defeat, saying: "There's desperate disappointment in there - a lot of fellas with their heads in their hands. Myself and Rory both spoke to them there and said that we should be proud with the effort that we put in.

"We'll be disappointed. I think part of the pride comes from fact that we've come to the home of the four times champions and double winners and we're desperately disappointed that we weren't able to finish out the game. We feel like we could have done that and we just didn't do it."

Asked if the Stockdale error was the turning point in the game, McFarland responded: "I don't see it like that. There are not many wingers in the world where they could put that ball down at all. I mean he had to fight through tackles and he did some magnificent things in the game that steer it in our direction anyway. So, whether he puts that ball down or not - it's not the winning or the losing of the game.

"I look at myself and the coaching of the contact area and the collision area where we lost out in the first half and we were much improved in the second half after I gave them a little bit of a roasting but it shouldn't have come to that.

"Perhaps I did something wrong in the preparation for the first half. We certainly won't be putting it down to one person making one small error," he added.

Leinster will face the winner of the Racing 92 - Toulouse clash on Sunday while Munster will face Saracens in the last four after they overcame Edinburgh 17-13 at Murrayfield on Saturday thanks to a brace from Keith Earls.

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Aviva Stadium Champions Cup Dan Mcfarland Jacob Stockdale Leinster Rugby Ulster

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