Gruff taking the positives from pre-season loss

By Ospreys Rugby | 31/08/2013

Post-match reaction after Friday night's game at the Recreation Ground...

Despite watching the Ospreys go down to defeat at the Recreation Ground on Friday night, Gruff Rees insisted there was plenty about the performance that had pleased the coaches as they prepare for the start of the new PRO12 campaign next weekend.

The Ospreys led a keenly contested affair at the break only to see Bath take the initiative as the game moved into the final thirty minutes, when a procession of changes that saw players coming and going prevented the team from finding a way back into the contest.

There was a welcome second half return for Ryan Jones while Lions pair Richard Hibbard and Ian Evans both made brief cameo appearances but, ultimately, the Ospreys came off second best in the closing stages, something which Rees acknowledged.

"We’re disappointed looking at that score-line at the end of the game because we don’t like to go down that way, especially the way we perhaps did fall off a little bit in the second half" he said.

" he said.

"They pulled us around a bit, had some power we couldn't’t deal with, and had some backs at the end of it to take full advantage. It’s disappointing, but we’re actually quite pleased with some of our process, in terms of some of our calling and what we are trying to achieve on the field.

"By and large we were pleased with the first 50 minutes of rugby. I think up to there it was a very effective workout for us and we put in a good defensive performance. Beyond that it was a case of getting some people off the field, allowing some youngsters to get some rugby, and allowing other boys the chance to start to get up to speed.

"The scoreline suffered as a result of it, but we have to look with one eye on next week, and I genuinely believe that in terms of a squad of 23 for next week are in pretty decent health. I was impressed by Bath, by their power game, they had a lot of fire power with good support lines.

"There’s a big learning curve for some of our forwards, in terms of the law changes at the scrum but also some of the technical intricacies around our game. We’re not quite there yet and some things we are going to have to get on the mark quite quickly to deal with Treviso next week, who are equally as powerful up front. We can’t put ourselves on the back foot the way we have tonight, defending from retreating positions was a tiresome old story for us.

"Conditioning wise we know where the players have been at over the last two weeks and we’ll be expecting to be in a better physical position for next week also.

"There were glimpses of what our backline can do but it’s difficult to build a game with a setpiece that wasn’t on the front foot. We’ve had some consistency in selection among the backs, which is nice to allow partnerships some time. That’s not always easy, at half-back in particular, and there are little things at the sharp end of our game which have to be managed a little more effectively. That’s a time thing, and a coaching thing. Again, it’s something we’ve got to get right quickly, but we feel it’s something that can be coached."