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Ryan: "There's no tougher place to come in the

By Ospreys Rugby | 30/05/2010

Skipper full of praise for the Ospreys after victory ensures they take silverware in Leinster's "back garden".

Speaking to the assembled journalists at a post-match press conference, Ryan Jones said:

"I thought we were superb. The manner in which we approached the game, the way in which the boys conducted themselves, in an environment like this, it's never easy. There's no tougher place to come in the Magners League than here, and to take silverware in someone else's back garden is an enormous effort and thoroughly deserved.

"It doesn't get much tougher than that. I've played Heineken Cup games this year, international rugby, and that was on a par. It was incredibly tough physically, it was difficult at times with the conditions, it was slippery and there were some errors but it was cup final rugby. It comes down to a decision, a missed pass, a missed tackle and there are a couple of tries. That's what makes the difference at this level.

"It was a fantastic occasion. The fans were superb, we have a real core of fans who seem to follow us all round Europe. They were incredibly vocal and it's great to be able to put a performance on for them. The Leinster fans were superb too, they stayed in after the game, they appreciate good rugby which is nice to see.

"We talked in the week about coming here, being brave, being bold, which I thought we were early on. We were fortunate enough to take chances, we've come under a bit of criticism sometimes for not taking our chances, but we took some early on which gave us a little bit comfort going in at half-time.

"On any occasion when you start well it settles the nerves, allows you to get a rhythm. I thought we played with a maturity tonight that allowed us to win that trophy. Since the Six Nations I think this team has come on incredibly. We've grown over recent weeks and managed to finish the season on a high.

"We can look back at that week in Ireland after the Biarritz game as crucial. We played three games in six or seven days, at this level it's incredibly tough. What your body goes through, and what you go through emotionally it's tough. But the boys came out of that superbly and it stood us in good stead for the rest of the season. It's something that we weathered and we grew tighter as a group. I think it was good for us in the long run.

"We fought incredibly hard to get some recognition for the effort we've put in this year. I just hope that this trophy goes some way towards doing that, and maybe to get people to appreciate and support us rather than continue to take shots at us. We just work incredibly hard and want to play rugby that's both entertaining and winning. It's what we hang our hat on and we're striving very hard to do so. We worked extremely hard and possibly against a lot of people's opinions, we've come here and done it and I thought we played well.

"It's a long path that we're on, there's been frustrations along the way, but night's like tonight give you that confidence you are going the right way. We've beaten one of the best teams in Europe, there's no doubting that. They've lifted the Heineken Cup that we've strived to get to, but you've got to keep battling. The key is now that we've set the bar and we need to start next season the way we've finished this one."    

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