Ospreys forwards coach, Chris Gibbes believes the Ospreys have to work on finishing their opportunities after the 30-20 victory against Zebre.
The Ospreys failed to make the most of a number of linebreaks against the Italian team but Gibbes is pleased at what his young team managed to create at the Liberty Stadium.
He said: “We took the game on directly and had some good momentum early on. Again, we created a hell of a lot of opportunities, some we finished, some we didn't. The positive from that was our intent around our counter attack and turnover ball was much better than what it has been. We've bombed four opportunities but we've created some pretty good play through there. We’ll have to go back to work on Monday and iron some of our mistakes out. This is the challenges you have with a young side but what we need to do is just work on our combinations.
From our point of view, we knew Zebre were going to be a very competitive side, teams have really had to grind it out against them this year. For us to create opportunities like we did against them was pleasing but we have to put more focus on ourselves to finish them but the key thing is we come away with the win.”
Gibbes was full of praise for his pack of forwards, especially man of the match Sam Lewis who the New Zealander believes has a ‘big future’ ahead of him.
He remarked: “Sam Lewis has a lot of potential. We keep looking at his defensive work and his tackle but some of the touches he had in attack were really nice, he shifted the ball with quick hands with the backs. Also, I thought Tyler Ardron was industrious with good carrying and providing us with some go-forward. Overall, we are really happy but we have let opportunities around the drive go and gave away some scrum penalties, which we resolved, maybe one or two scrums too late, we have to get a little bit better around these areas but overall, we did okay.”
With Wales ignoring James King, Gibbes spoke highly of the second row following another impressive performance against Zebre.
James King was included in Rob Howley’s Six Nations squad earlier this year but earned his two caps on the summer tour to Japan before being overlooked for the Autumn Internationals under Warren Gatland.
Gibbes said: “James King was pretty accurate and consistent as he is. I’ve told him to keep doing what he is doing. He’s a consistently high performer, if you look at his tackle and carry numbers, they are always high. It’s about taking your opportunities, he just needs to keep knocking the door down as he’s still a young guy and you don’t know what’s around the corner.”
The New Zealander spoke highly of the new challenge he has faced since he joined the region this season. Gibbes spent 10 years with Waikato Rugby before heading to Swansea for a new experience with the Ospreys.
“I am really enjoying it. One of the reasons I came here was to experience the challenge of week in week out rugby. Now I’ve experienced the three levels of rugby with the Heineken Cup, the RaboDirect PRO12 and the LV= Cup, I think it’s awesome having rugby week in week out.”