After Ulster losing bonus point on Friday confirmed the Ospreys play-off hopes are over, Justin Tipuric says it is essential the Ospreys end the season on a high at the Liberty this Saturday.
With Connacht visiting the Liberty Stadium on the final day of the regular PRO12 season next Saturday, Justin Tipuric has urged the Ospreys to make sure they are fully focussed on the game after defeat in Zebre last Thursday.
That disappointing loss, combined with Ulster securing the losing bonus point they needed in Friday’s defeat at home to Leinster, ended the Ospreys hopes of a place in the end of season play-offs, bringing the region’s season to end next weekend, some three weeks earlier than they had hoped.
Neverthelss, Tipuric says that the team needs to be at its very best next Saturday to ensure they sign off for 2013/14 in a positive fashion.
“It’s important that we treat the game as we would any other to be honest” he said.
“Yes, it’s extremely disappointing for everyone concerned that we won’t be in the play-offs but we’ve still got a job to do and it’s important we put on a performance in front of our own fans that they can be proud of.
“We want to end the season on a high despite the disappointment we are all feeling after Friday night. It’s important that we have the right mindset in preparation for this week so that we can go to the Liberty on Saturday and show a true reflection of what we are about, to finish on a positive. There may be nothing on the match in terms of the play-offs unfortunately, but try telling anyone who cares about the Ospreys that the game doesn’t matter.”
Reflecting first on the defeat in Parma, Tipuric said:
“We knew it was going to be a tough game. Zebre are not the team they used to be, the team that a lot of people still think is a pushover. They’ve progressed well and they have some good players,
“It’s devastating to lose a game that we were winning when the clock got to 80 minutes. We were pushing for a bonus point, which didn’t happen, and one or two decisions at the end killed us which meant that we ended up with one.
“I think we had to push for the five, because of the position we’d left ourselves in for the play-offs. We needed to try and put more pressure on Ulster but it wasn’t to be. Now we have to pick ourselves up and look ahead to next week.”
Regardless of the Ospreys’ end of season woes, Tipuric is insistent that next season promises to be an exciting one for the region, with a combination of developing youngsters and new faces set to give the team some fresh impetus.
“We’ve made some key signings in important positions, the youngsters are maturing and have another year behind them, and it’s been good to see them progressing” said Tipuric.
“They are only going to get better with experience, and we need to use that to build some momentum for next year.
“We have to keep working hard to ensure we progress as those youngsters become key players. We set very high standards at the Ospreys and we are hard on ourselves if we don’t match those standards. We need our fans behind us now, to keep us going and to really provide the encouragement that youngsters in particular need. The young boys coming through are all from the area and are achieving the dream of playing for their region and hopefully supporters will recognise that.
“The support in the stands is crucial. We all know what it is like to go to an away game and face an atmosphere where the opposition crowd are fully behind their team and getting on your back. We need that at the Liberty.”
Tickets for Saturday’s game against Connacht at the Liberty Stadium are on sale now at the Ticket Office, via the Ticket Hotline on 0844 815 6665 or online at ospreysrugby.com/buytickets .
Season memberships for 2014/15 are also on sale now, with adult prices starting at just £99. For full details and an application form please visit http://ospreysrugby.com/Page/Content/1617