After a good 2016/17, this season has proven to be a difficult one for Wasps. A series of injuries has seen them lose a large chunk of the squad and having topped the table last year they now sit 3rd from bottom in the Aviva Premiership.
In Contrast a lacklustre 2016/17 for Ulster has seen them kick on and currently they top their pool of the Pro14.
Contrasting seasons then and on a wet night at the Kingspan, the major difference between the two sides was never more clear, accuracy and nowhere was this more apparent than in the sequence of play leading into Jacob Stockdale Try on 55 minutes.
First we have to be sure to give credit to Ulster. It's a well-worked try but this sequence under review also shows how error-prone Wasps have been this season, first making a royal hash of the 5m defensive scrum and then switching off in defence allowing Piutau and Stockdale to connect for a superb finish in the corner.
Throughout the game, these little details built up. Tackles, for example, another area where Ulster just seemed to get it right.
With reasonably similar tackle percentages (Wasps 91% and Ulster 89%) you'd be forgiven for thinking both defences were of a similar quality but Ulsters ability to slow the ball down by going low and coming out on the attacking side of the tackle was invaluable in shutting down Wasps quick ball, whereas similar tactics by Wasps saw them conceded penalties for offside. Same technique, different accuracy in the execution leading to a different outcome.
Ultimately, it's those small inaccuracies that led to Wasps racking up 13 penalties to Ulsters 6 allowing the lead and then the bonus point loss to slip away from them with Lealiifano's 75 minutes penalty.
Wasps have had a shocking run of injuries, and squad depth is surely being tested. However, if they intend to be in the mix, come the end of either their domestic and European campaigns they'll need to cut down these unforced errors and regain the accuracy they showed in abundance last season.
Author: The Dead Ball Area