Bath win ‘big’ for development of squad

Acting Forwards Coach, Tom Smith, believes that Saturday’s dramatic LV= Cup win over Bath at the Rec can be the catalyst for a big month of PRO12 rugby.

Matthew Dwyer crossed for a last minute try to snatch a memorable win and, as attention now turns to back-to-back games in Scotland before Leinster and Munster come to the Liberty, Smith said that the victory could prove to be a big moment in the development of the young squad.

Chatting with the press post-match, Smith said:

“It’s a great win for us. Coming to the Rec, with a full house and up against a strong Bath team, it’s an excellent achievement to get the result.

“The way that we went about getting that result is what was most pleasing. We knew it was going to be a tough day in the office but we spoke about sticking to the task, ensuring that we kept within range. We felt that they would tire towards the end when, hopefully, we would be able to pick something up if we stayed focused.

“I thought the defensive effort was outstanding and showed the amount of work that this team is willing to put in. I think it’s a big moment in the ongoing development of this group. We spoke last week that being plucky losers isn’t good enough at the Ospreys, and that we needed to make that next step. The way we ended the game shows the resolve and determination in this squad, which still has a fair bit of inexperience right through it.

“There were some sticky moments and we’ve got areas to work on at the set piece, but the forwards didn’t hide from the challenge, they fronted up against a very physical pack. We defended the driving line-out very well, and it was a good scrap.

“It wasn’t just a back to the wall job though, it would be wrong to say that. I’d have liked to have had more possession but when we did have the ball we tried to get into our patterns. It’s pleasing that with so many players coming into the team, who maybe haven’t played much, that they have fitted into our system well.

“Towards the end, when the game opened up as we thought it would, we showed some good skills and awareness, particularly for the try at the end which was as good as any you’ll see in any game. I’m really pleased for the boys, they got the reward that their application and effort deserved and that’s important looking ahead to the big PRO12 games coming up. We talk constantly about focusing on performance, getting that right, being accurate and clinical. If you do that, then the result follows, and that’s exactly what happened today.

“It’s a massive period for us now and with our internationals away and a fair few injuries, it’s this group that have a job to do and carry us forward. They are the ones who we need to do a job, take us through this period and ensure we’re in a good position to push on for the play-offs.

“A win like this gives us a little bit of momentum going into a tough match against Edinburgh on Friday, and with it the confidence and belief to see the job through.”