Director of Coaching Scott Johnson has vowed that there will be a harsh critique of the Ospreys performance during their 33-18 win over Connacht at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday despite his side picking up a bonus point in the victory.
Speaking to the media after the game, Johnson said that although there was plenty to be happy about in the performance, there were areas of concern too, and he wasn’t going to allow his verdict to be clouded by the five point pick-up.
“We’re pleased with the result but there’s plenty of things to work on” he stressed.
“We weren’t entirely pleased with our execution. We let ourselves down defensively, we were a little off, but as we just spoke in the dressing room, that Connacht side is getting better and better, and this time of the year, to take a five pointer, we’ll take that. We didn’t budget for it, so it’s a nice bonus.
“I thought the endeavour and the work-rate was good. When we had the ball we were quite dangerous.
“Richard Fussell did wonderfully well at 15, he’s terrific, and he brings a bit of vibe and energy to the squad. It was good to see Tom Prydie, and everyone got to see the wings that he’s got, it was actually very nice. Hanno compliments him in many ways, so I was very happy with that. It’s good to see the development of Ashley Beck, and Tipuric as a leader, so there’s plenty to like, but there’s plenty we’ll be critiquing, and critiquing hard.
“We were impatient just before we got the fourth try, we were on our line and doing silly passes. It’s very difficult to score from that part of the pitch, and sometimes, when you are going for the bonus point everyone seems to want to play a different way. What got you the three tries must be doing something right so lets concentrate on doing the same thing! We had a bit of luck there really, we probably wasted 10 or 15 minutes of the game, doing silly things in our own half, so we had a bit of luck in the end.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to ride that luck, and I was very glad that we showed the patience at the end to get over. We’ll critique both the good and the bad. I think you’ve got to sometimes judge a win harsher than a loss, because you’ve got to be clear, and make sure that you aren’t getting away with things that can come back and bite you later.
“Had I given up on the bonus point? No, not really, I just thought if we got some field position and as it turns out that was the case. That was why we kicked off the way we did, we got a good chase in and got the penalty. We hadn’t given up, but certainly, the odds were against us doing it, so it was a bonus we got it.
“These young players have a thirst for knowledge, they want to learn, they are at a different stage of their career to the international players. I think last year we put our foot into the water a little bit with a few of them. There’s an understanding there, there’s a growth, and sometimes, kids just develop before your eyes. You look at Ashley and you look at Rhys, they are more than proficient Magners League players now, they are quality players.
“It’s great for Tom Prydie to get his chance, he will start to develop now and get some confidence. That’s what happens. Sometimes we put non-swimmers in deep water and that’s not the thing to do. This is a case where he’s been allowed to swim and he’ll grow to be the player we suspected he would be. I’ve got a lot of time for Hanno Dirksen, a young kid as well, people forget how young he is.
“There’s a lot of good going on. I love the development of the captain as well, he’s going to be a quality player for Wales and the Ospreys in the future. He’s just starting to develop his demeanour as well, because he’s such a quiet kid, he’s starting to grow.
“There’s plenty to like about this group. Bevington has come on as well and people forget he’s a very young kid for a front rower, and Daniel, he is still learning, still improving, and he will be a quality 10. He’s scored more points in the Magners League than anyone else this season and will serve this region extremely well for many years to come, I’ve no doubt about that one.”