It was a case of the good, the bad and the ugly on Friday night as far as Steve Tandy was concerned after he watched the Ospreys go down to pre-season defeat at the hands of Worcester
The Ospreys went behind to a quick fire try in the opening seconds and although two penalties from Sam Davies briefly put them ahead midway through the first half, it was ultimately a case of costly errors allowing Worcester to gain the upper hand and pull away after the break.
Reflecting on the performance and the result post-match, Tandy didn’t attempt to hide his disappointment at some areas of the performance while highlighting the positives from the evening.
“I thought we were pretty decent in the first half” he insisted.
“We created a couple of opportunities which we should have taken after giving away a soft try through an interception almost from the kick off. I’m disappointed because of that aspect obviously.
“I thought some of the new boys showed up well. Dan Evans, Matavesi, Sam Parry all had good games, and it’s good for people like Lloyd Peers and Dmitri to get some time on the field after so long out.
“The result is disappointing though. There are aspects of the performance that I’m not happy about, our set piece wasn’t up to standard, but there are some positives about what we did if you look at it objectively and rationally.
“It’s important that we don’t get over emotional about a defeat in pre-season, we have to analyse it and make sure we learn from the areas we let ourselves down in. Tonight, like the last couple of months and the next couple of weeks, are about building for Treviso and beyond that, not just about winning or losing this game.”
Tandy was left to rue what could have been on a frustrating evening where his team failed to take their chances after handing Worcester some gift wrapped scoring opportunities:
“It could have been a very different game. We didn’t take our opportunities in the first half, chances that we created well. Dan couldn’t hold on to it on the line after a really nice move, we created a few opportunities first half out wide, but we were clearly a little bit off.
“We were pretty disappointed to come in behind if I’m honest. We probably over did it a little bit when we had the ball in the first 40 but there was enough to be relatively pleased about us as an attacking force at that point.
“Our errors were the difference on the scoreboard if we are honest. A misjudged pass in the first few seconds meant that we were playing catch-up from almost the first whistle, then at the start of the second half we gave away a poor penalty, in front of the kicker, from where they drove over and that was very disappointing. It was compounded a few minutes later when we were in control of the football again around the halfway line, threw a miss pass and they took advantage of the loose ball and were under our posts again.
“Some of our defence was good, our phase play was pretty decent at times, but ultimately there are a lot of things that we need to work hard on around the set piece.”
The focus now turns to the Premier 4x4 Challenge at the Gnoll on Tuesday evening, where an Ospreys XV will compete against the region’s four premier clubs in a series of 20 minute contests, before the team head to London to face Saracens next Thursday, completing a tough week of pre-season activity.
Tandy believes it will help ensure the team is firing on all cylinders by the time the serious business starts next month.
“We’ve worked hard all summer and this is a very tough week for some of the boys” said Tandy.
“After tonight we’ll go home, recover and the boys will come back in after the weekend ready to take this apart. A lot of this group will go straight into Tuesday night at Neath against the clubs and that’s a challenge that we are all looking forward to. Then we go to Saracens where we know full well that it’s going to be a tough evening, pre-season or not, and we want to go there and use the experience positively just as we will tonight, regardless of the result.
“We left a big group behind in Llandarcy today who are working hard with a view to Saracens, boys like Biggs, Baldwin, Jarvis, Nicky Smith, Eli, Webby, Hassler and Ardron, Baker, These are people who will all help to give us more depth. Ultimately, pre-season is about testing yourself, seeing what options you have and learning about your players. In that respect tonight has been very worthwhile, for good and bad reasons.
“Overall, it was a five out of ten. Am I disappointed we’ve lost a game tonight, and am I disappointed for our supporters, particularly those who travelled here to support us? Yes, of course I am and of course we all are. Ultimately though there is a bigger picture and tonight was about building blocks and this is the first step on a long season.”