Dan McFarland has praised the determination of his players after they secured a top four finish in the URC regular season.

The province are guaranteed a home quarter-final in the United Rugby Championship, after a 24-21 win against the Sharks at Kingspan Stadium.

The win moves Ulster into second place in the table, although both Munster and the Stormers could leapfrog them with wins tomorrow against Leinster and the Scarlets respectively.

In an incredibly physical game, there were huge defensive shifts from Duane Vermeulen, Nick Timoney and Iain Henderson, while Stuart McCloskey was a big presence in the backline.

And although they shipped a couple of sloppy late tries to let the Sharks back into the game, defence was the foundation of the win, with a particularly big defensive stand at the end of the first half.

"We had a job to do, to get the home quarter-final," McFarland said.

"It was us or them, and we did the job and I thought for a big chunk we controlled it. They showed a little bit of brilliance at the end, got back within touching distance, which wasn't very comfortable for a few minutes. Apart from that I was very pleased.

"They offer a big physical threat but also on a speed, and the ability to beat people sense. Their back three is outstanding, Mapimpi and Lukhanyo Am are two of the best players in the world, Aphelele Fassi at full-back is unbelievable at beating defenders.

"It's very difficult to keep them under control, and I though we did a really good job there."

Ulster will find out who their quarter-final opponents will be tomorrow night, with several potential opponents on the cards.

And McFarland says he'll be keeping an eye on tomorrow's remaining Roiund 18 matches, even if he admits he won't enjoy it.

"When you're only really interested in the results, it's not that much fun," he laughed.

"I suppose I'll have to, we'll be playing one of them. I'll have to watch the Sharks game two or three times, so I'll see.

"I'll watch the Stormers game, Peely (Dwayne Peel, former Ulster defence coach) is coaching there, I want them to win."