Clarke on “hugely disappointing afternoon”

Head coach, Allen Clarke admitted that the team had been “beaten in all facets of the game outside of the scrum” when he reflected on a heavy Guinness PRO14 defeat in Galway.

The Ospreys were well beaten, going behind in only the second minute and never really threatening to overhaul their opponents, and in his post-match interview it was put to him that it had been an afternoon when nothing went right.

“It certainly felt like that” he agreed.

“A lot of things came to a head today and it was a hugely disappointing performance from us.”

Asked how much off-field events over the last week impacted on the performance, Clarke refused to use it as an excuse, saying:

“Genuinely, I don’t know how much weight we can put on that, or how you measure it. It’s very easy for us to stand here and hide behind it but, ultimately, today we were beaten in all facets of the game outside of the scrum.

“Early on, systems wise defensively, we conceded tries we haven’t been conceding and that gave Connacht tremendous impetus in conditions that were difficult for us. That left us chasing the game.

“You look at the end of the first half, we are an intercept away from going in to score and cut the lead to 15. We end up back on our line defending, Keelan gets yellow carded and that’s a huge blow. With that wind, and the right approach, a 15-point game at half-time is there for you, but I think that blow hurt us and we couldn’t recover from it when we came back out. We lacked that composure to do what we needed to.

“It hurts us badly to not have any internationals back, and you could see the impact that their four returning Ireland players made.”

With two weekends off before the final home game of the season, against the Dragons on Saturday 23rd March, Clarke said that they won’t be throwing the towel in, pointing to Saturday’s victors as inspiration after they themselves bounced back from heavy defeat on the road, losing 44-17 in Glasgow last time out:

“There are four games to play and we have to look at salvaging a bit of pride after today, whatever happens elsewhere, and we must keep fighting as a collective.

“This Connacht team were well beaten in Glasgow last week and they’ve responded. That shows what’s possible.”