We’ve rounded up all the key points from Clarkie’s press conference at Llandarcy on Tuesday to look ahead to Friday’s big Guinness PRO14 clash with Glasgow at the Liberty Stadium (7:35pm).
Here’s what he had to say about…
Availability of Players:
- We’re not expecting anyone to be released, I’m sure it’s the same for both teams, and we do have one or two niggles, so we are still assessing as we speak.
- We’ve got adequate cover, we’ve grown that little bit of depth in our squad, and the boys have had some game time, some experience and put on some decent performances.
- It’s a different group of players, different mind-set, different position to last year. Obviously Glasgow have been the in form team, showing a lot of qualities over the last number of years. They play with a lot of confidence, but equally we’ve got confidence.
- It’s a fantastic end to this block of games, that first versus second in our conference come head to head in the Liberty. If we can get as many of our supporters there cheering us on, if the boys perform on the field and feel that energy, we can make it a difficult place.
- They have a good strength in depth, and if you look at most teams these days, they have a style of play and you never get too far away from that because you spend your training week trying to over-adapt for a team that you are going to play against at the weekend. You make some subtle changes, but fundamentally you become good at what you are good at, and Glasgow are very good at what they do. Our job is to ensure that we are better at what we do, and see if that can put pressure on them, and turn that pressure into points.
- If you had asked us at the start of the season, would we have taken this as a scenario in round 8 of the PRO14, we probably would have bitten your arm off.
- We’ve worked hard to get where we are, we’ve respected what its taken and we are building a certain DNA that we are starting to display on a regular basis and with that consistency, hopefully we’ll get a performance on Friday night.
- On Friday night, we didn’t consider taking him off. There was an eighty-minute performance in him, and that was the first he’d had this season, so that will give him a great sense of confidence going into this week with Wales and whether he’s selected or not, he’ll be in a good place.
- He’s the sort of player you don’t necessarily want to play against, I know how much he galvanises a pack because of his energy and the trust that you have when you have a person like him beside you.
Friday’s Game Against Connacht:
- Our back-five as a whole went well Friday night, their energy, their effort around the field. James King playing in second-row, he adds an extra dimension there. I thought Olly Cracknell was outstanding, and that complimented the control of our half-backs and the execution of our backs as a whole.
- We had ten senior backs training last week, if you work that out you can see why we dipped into our academy. It’s a big plus for the academy programme here, with the performances of Harri and Tiaan. Its not enough to be selected to reward an academy, it’s the performance of the individuals, its how they carry themselves as individuals and then recognising what it took to get there.
- The week before we’d talked about not competing as we should have, or how we believed how we are capable of, in the first forty minutes against Worcester. With the eighty-minute performance on Friday, we’ve gone 120 minutes of rugby now where we’ve been in the fight throughout and to relinquish a 17-3 lead, I think we showed a great sense of character and maturity whilst running, you need a little bit of luck along the way, but it was fantastic to come out with the 5 points.
- He’s close but he’s still on the return to play programme. The nature of the individual and the nature of the injury, and the position he plays, and how he plays the game, it would be a risk to include him this week, but he’s not far away.
- He’s trained with us yesterday and this morning, and we’ll have a look at him again this afternoon. We’ll take stock of that based on his training performance, as we have done with other players, he’s not exclusive to that process. My incline is to reward the boys who really fronted up on Friday night and say, go again.
Enjoying the step up to Head Coach at the Ospreys:
- It’s never about one person in this world, certainly that’s my approach to it. There’s tremendous support, as I’ve already mentioned the academy, the S&C department, the medical department, everybody associated with the Ospreys down at the Liberty Stadium, the analytical department here and then obviously the other coaches here.
- I am a coach; I coach along with other coaches. Part of the role is that maybe you don’t say as much. Sometimes its important to stand up and speak, and other times its important to stand up and say nothing.
- For me, you have tremendous support in terms of Brad Davis and Matt Sheratt, who has come in and driven our attack, and with Duncan Jones who has come in and is assisting with the scrum, and is really driving the scrum. Bradley Davies, the lock, who is a player and is fundamental in terms of our lineout.
- As part of the resetting we discussed at the start of the season, I’d say thanks to all those people, but in particular the players and how they have responded to the change.
- None of us are indispensable. There’s been good people before me in this position, I know I’m passing through and its just about doing the best you can for the Ospreys.