After hearing from Defence Coach, Brad Davis, at the press conference on Wednesday at Llandarcy ahead of this week’s Challenge Cup clash against Pau in France, we rounded up all his key points.
Here’s what Brad had to say about…
Pau as opposition:
- The first thing is, we’ve got to focus on winning the game. Obviously for us to get a bonus point, we’re going to have to get four tries so we’ve got to lay a foundation early on in the first twenty minutes and then try and build on that throughout the match.
- The hard thing for us as a coaching group and as a team is we’re not sure what sort of team Pau will put out at home so its important for us that we just focus on ourselves and look to improve on our performances.
- You can look at the Worcester and the Stade game away and it will be fairly similar. You can expect a similar line-up in terms of team selection.
- The important thing for us is playing in Europe is giving a good account of ourselves by going out there to try and win the match, gain maximum points if possible and then see where the tally lies. If we manage to scrape through, then we scrape through, but realistically it’s going to be difficult for us.
- In terms of where we are as a region, its very difficult to fight on all fronts. It’s very difficult for us at this stage, with our squad depth, to say yes we could do this a little bit harder in the Challenge Cup, but then our form in our league might suffer. Where we are in the league has to be a priority, and anything else we got out of the Challenge Cup was going to be a bonus.
- We’ve been able to, within the Challenge Cup, expose a lot of our younger players to European rugby and hopefully over time we’ll get that pay back some time in the future, that we’ve developed our squad depth.
- What we have to do as a club is look at what we could have done better on game day so we can improve as a team. We’ve addressed that this week, and we look to improve that against Pau.
- The inaccuracies in our game throughout the eighty-minutes put us in these positions. We weren’t able to get anything going from our set-piece attack.
- Obviously the booing was coming from a kicking perspective. The fact is, as a coaching group and as a team, we try and set out some tactics before the game that are going to give us the best chance of winning the match. We employed a pretty big kicking emphasis in the games against the Blues and the Scarlets, and that worked a treat and we came away with wins there.
- Like everything in sport, when you’re on the receiving end, you’re always looking at ways to improve your game and there is a balance we can strike there between when is the time to keep the ball in hand, and when is the time to kick the ball away? In saying that, I don’t think our kicks were accurate enough, our chase wasn’t as aggressive as what it was previously in the derbies.
- Unfortunately, when you are on the wrong side of the scoreboard, you come in for a bit of criticism. But we’ve been in sport long enough to accept that and we’re looking to improve things.
Dan Baker's return from injury:
- Dan actually popped his head into the office today and I think his return could be around the week of the Munster game. It’s great news for the region because he’s a ball carrier. When he does come back, it’s been a 15-month spell out, we can’t expect miracles from him. But to have him back and hopefully staying healthy and staying fit and well, hopefully at the back end of the season, we can really start to see that ball carrying which will be ammunition for our attack.
- Where he’s come from to where he is now, is just unbelievable, and credit to Matt and Clarkie and the player himself in how he’s approached his training and his learning to actually be in the frame has been a huge compliment to him as a player.
- He’s had a taste of the International set-up. Everyone who’s watched his games would have to say that, probably baring one performance where as a team we didn’t really function, he’s been outstanding.
- He’s tried to put his best foot forward in every game he’s taken. He’s a good learner and he applies himself. His speed is electric, you can’t coach that, and I’m sure the Welsh management are well aware of that.
- I think the important thing for Keelan after having that really long lay-off when he had that injury, is for him is to have some game time, getting confident and getting a feel for the game again, then we hopefully, over time, can see the best out of him.
- We’re pretty well stocked in that department at the moment. There’s only two slots in every match day 23 generally for wingers. I hope Keelan over the next three to four weeks can get some game time and gain that confidence.
- I’m really pleased with his development this year. Cory coming to the fore has probably put a bit more pressure on Owen in terms of game time, but this is a nice position for the Ospreys to be in where you have Scott, Cory and Owen all pushing for that starting centre positions.
- I think Owen still has lots of improvements to make. He’s definitely a bright one not just for now but for us moving forward as a region.
- His best game for us was against Cardiff Blues, there he really showed his mettle. With the backs that we have, it’s a young back line and to have him out there at 13 as a defensive captain, but also understanding the game with the ball, he’s a really good voice for our tens.
- I’ve been very impressed with Scott, both on the training field and within our team environment. Hopefully he stays fit now.