Having enjoyed a touchline view of the action at the HAC on Thursday evening, Ospreys skipper Alun Wyn Jones says that the players have “two weeks of hard work” ahead of them..
Jones, who didn’t feature in any of the pre-season action, took up the role of water boy in London, giving him the opportunity to act as a link between the coaches and the players and to get a close-up view of what proved to be a tough evening in the city.
However, speaking at the team hotel hours afterwards, the big second row was quick to accentuate the positives, and he said that despite the scoreline he was relatively pleased with what he saw.
“There was some encouraging stuff” he insisted.
“We played a lot of rugby, maybe a bit more rugby than we wanted or needed to, but despite the scoreline it wasn’t anything like as desperate as someone just looking at the score would think.
“In fairness to Saracens, they took the opportunities when the came. That’s the mark of a formidable squad that has dangerous players across the park, which is what we were up against. Despite that, I thought we were actually in ascendancy for periods in the game, but because we didn’t take the opportunities that came our way, it looks disappointing on the scoreboard.
“We have to take heart from a lot of what we did out there. A lot of boys put their hands up in certain aspects of the game, but there is still a bit to work on. We knew that pre-season with three games inside a week would be tough, but would give us a gauge of what areas we needed to sharpen up in. We’ve got two weeks of hard work until the first league game to make sure we start well.
“It’s fair to say that we would have wanted to see a more complete team performance, taking the opportunities that do come, and if we’d done that in the first half an hour then we could have been looking at a different game. Sport is all about ifs and buts though, that’s the nature of the game, there’s nothing we can do to change the result now. What we can do is work hard to improve in those areas before we start the season in a couple of weeks, which is what will happen.
“This is pre-season, it’s not about turning up and expecting a win, it’s about finding out about the group, and where we stand. We’ve got a good fix on what’s needed and although this is a young squad, there is experience in the group and it’s up to those experienced boys to stand up and lead by example so that we can get to where we need to be before we play Treviso in a fortnight.”