We’ve gathered the key points from Allen Clarke’s press conference at Llandarcy on Wednesday ahead of the final festive Derby against the Cardiff Blues this Saturday at the Liberty Stadium. (3pm K.O).
Here’s what he had to say about…
Last Sunday’s game against the Dragons:
- There was plenty of effort from us, with dominance of the ball. Ultimately, we hurt ourselves and that was our biggest frustration and disappointment, regardless of a couple of bouncing balls that we didn’t deal with that led to a score in the first instance and a couple of high impact decisions. We had enough in that game to win it, and we know that.
- I think its important that we get back to doing what we do well and we don’t beat ourselves. We’ve addressed the situation by looking at what we can do better, and as a group the boys have responded brilliantly .
- We had 14 line-breaks on Sunday. I’m not going to be one of those coaches that lists stats, because ultimately the stat that matters is the scoreboard and we didn’t nail that. We need to be more clinical, we need to execute better, maybe we need to respect the type of rugby we’re playing early on in the game.
- Their performance against the Scarlets was impressive. I thought they set themselves up well and played really well. They were content without the ball, but also showed their attacking threats and how dangerous they can be when they have possession of the ball in the right areas of the field.
- You look at their midfield, their control at 10, you look at the combination of their back-row and their ability off the ball to slow your break down. They have a high rate of turnover on opposition ball, and equally they’ve got a high success rate from scrum attacks. We are aware of what we need to be working on, and without giving our plan away we are addressing that in camp.
State of Play
- Every game from here on in, particularly those within your conference when it’s head-to-head are important.
- If you look at our conference, the points we have at the moment would actually place us second in Conference B, behind Leinster, so its very tight at the top.
- Our responsibility is to perform well at the weekend and come out of that game hopefully with a ‘W’, and then put pressure on others playing around us with Connacht playing Munster at the weekend
- In relation to Sunday’s game, obviously you get your usual bumps and bruises and there was a little bit of recovery required for certain individuals which may be necessary right up until Friday. However, we are in a pretty good state of play.
- Dan Baker is back running on the field again; it’s tremendous to have him up and running. We don’t want to put too much pressure on him, so we’ll do what’s right. I’d love to see him back sooner rather than later, he’s a dynamic ball carrier and would add value to our selection dilemmas on a weekly basis. Over the next couple of weeks, we should be in a better place to know how he’s dealing with that workload. We’ve got some really good people working with him, S&C and medical. Dan is really driving it now, so that’s a good sign for us.
- Bradley Davies is running, but he won’t available till the latter part of January/ February. He’s an older athlete, but he’s a good athlete. We are just managing him to make sure he comes back and is given the best opportunity to achieve his individual goals.
Strength in Depth:
- Probably through some selections this year, some people are starting to realise that they can do it and they can perform, and they belong here.
- Its important that regardless of what 23 will be representing the Ospreys at the weekend, that everyone is being coached, challenged and supported so that they are becoming better rugby players as well as people. We have a group of men here who, fundamentally, that’s what they do.
- We’ve said all along that we are a club that are progressing, and we are starting to see shoots of that progression. Obviously, the weekend was a setback, but that doesn’t negate from the number of wins that we have on the roster so far this season. For us, its important that we are consistent in our approach and in how we work together as individuals for the Ospreys.
- A process has begun and a number of contracts have been offered and verbally agreed. It’s quite difficult to dot all the i’s and cross the t’s at this time of the season, but that’s where we are, it’s the nature of the banding process that Wales has gone through. At the back-end of January, we’d quite like to be in a good position in terms of retentions, recruitment and invariably releases.
- The banding issues have delayed the process to a degree. We are all people, it’s caused the player groups some angst, which is understandable, particularly for those players who are coming out of contract because there’s been that period of waiting.