Tommy Bowe says that he's looking forward to enjoying the derby day atmosphere as the Ospreys face the Scarlets for the first time this season on Saturday night.
The Ospreys will be aiming to extend their winning run against their local rivals to five games after doing the double over the Scarlets in the last two seasons, and Bowe says that the players are looking forward to the big derby as much as the supporters who want to get one up over the team from across the Loughor Bridge:
“It’s my third season here and I’d say that since being at the Ospreys I’ve definitely seen the big rivalry between the Ospreys and the Scarlets” he insisted.
“I’m from Ireland where there are massive rivalries between Munster, Ulster and Leinster so I know what it’s about. You can see around the place that it is one of the most important games of the season for the fans. We’re excited about playing these games. It’s always a big occasion, a local derby, it’s always intense, but that’s especially so with the form the Scarlets have started this season with. But, this is my third season here and I haven’t lost this game yet and I certainly don’t intend doing so this weekend.”
The Scarlets currently sit in second place in the early Magners League table, four points clear of the Ospreys after three straight wins, culminating in a 27-14 victory over the Dragons at Rodney Parade last weekend, and Bowe acknowledges that if the Ospreys are to maintain the upper hand over the Scarlets, they will need to improve on last Saturday’s performance against Aironi. He said:
“I watched their match against the Dragons the other day and they were looking very dangerous. They played very well, exciting rugby that people want to watch, and we are slowly starting to get back to what the Ospreys are all about so it should be an entertaining game.
“I’ve been playing against them for a long time, at Ulster first, coming to Stradey, and now with the Ospreys. It’s always a difficult place to play, there’ll be a big crowd and it’s great to see that. At the same time, I’m an Osprey and they are the one team that the Osprey public want us to beat, and that gets the players really up for it.
“It was only my second start of the season on Saturday, I’m still building into it, and it’s the same with other players who are coming back into the team. It’s not easy to just step straight back in and expect to be up and running straight away, but we know that we need to kick on very quickly, the boys who are coming in over the course of the last few weeks need to get up to speed as it’s going to be a tough game, and we want to put down a marker before we go into Europe next week.
“I don’t think we are that far away. We’ve scored a few tries, against Munster we took the few chances we had but we let ourselves down in other areas. You can see game on game that players are starting to get back to where they should be and that’s carried on in training this week.
“What we’ve got to do now is carry that on to another level and maintain that standard.”