Ulster captain Iain Henderson says his side can take huge pride in the nature of their second half performance against La Rochelle in the Heineken Champions Cup on Saturday, as they rallied back to claim two bonus-points despite the 36-29 defeat.
The province looked set for another humiliating loss on Saturday evening when they were 29-0 down at half time, but outscored the defending champions 29-7 after the break, scoring four tries along the way, to boost their confidence after a deflating fortnight.
Dan McFarland's side appeared the be in freefall since their second half collapse against Leinster earlier this month, conceding 96 points and scoring just seven across four halves of rugby, but a dogged finish on Saturday seems to have stopped the rot.
"I do feel the players in the second half put on a performance they should be proud of," the Ulster captain said as he reflected on their fightback.
And although they're still on a run of three defeats in a row, the second row says it's important they shine a light on the positives of the outcome, with their two bonus-points still keeping them in the hunt for the last 16.
"I'm always a [glass] half-full kind of guy. There are moments in that game where we were absolutely excellent, there were moments our discipline was awful, myself included.
"If you look at a few of their tries, they're probably bounce of the ball stuff. I feel that we can take frustration from that, but also take great confidence from that. They’re an incredible team, they’ve done what they’ve done over the last few seasons because they’re an incredible team and we had to be wary of that, and we weren’t in the first half."
Ronan O'Gara's side ran in two first half tries, and one shortly after the break, but the foundation of the win was how they took advantage of some dreadful Ulster discipline early on.
La Rochelle built up a 12-0 lead inside 25 minutes after four Antoine Hastoy penalties, while the out-half also missed one from the tee in that period.
Henderson (above) was also sent to the sin-bin for a cynical infringement, and the Ulster skipper says they contributed heavily to their own downfall.
"Arguably, that's the winning and the losing of the game there, that’s the frustration on our half, and it’s something we have to sort," he added.
"If you look at the first half we produced against Leinster, and the second half we produced today, we have the ability to do this to big teams, the frustration for us is trying to find a solution or a method of consistently putting this on the pitch for a full 80 minutes. That’s a headscratcher for us, and something we’ll continue striving for.
"You have doubts starting to creep into everyone's mind, all stakeholders in the game, not only the players. That’s something as a player, you’re slightly conscious of, you know that, and these things have an impact on people, and it was the mindset towards us.
"I’m glad we were able to hit the rest the button at half time and string a performance that we could be proud of, and put our hand up again and say, 'We are a decent rugby team, and we’re not going to roll over'."