Winger Hanno Dirksen opened his account for the season with his first ever league try as the Ospreys recorded a 27-3 win over Leinster at the Liberty Stadium on Friday evening, but he was more pleased with his team's defensive effort.
After racing into a 24-point lead at half-time, with tries also coming from Rhys Webb and Justin Tipuric the Ospreys found themselves under the cosh after the break, but were able to resist Leinster pressure to ensure their line remained unbreached at the final whistle.
Despite scoring a memorable try to open his RaboDirect PRO12 account, Dirksen summed up the attitude of the current Ospreys squad when he revealed that preventing Leinster from the crossing the whitewash had given him greater satisfaction:
“We trained hard ahead of the game on defence” he said.
“As a team our defence is a big part of our game and to stop them getting over the try line was really the best part for us. It shows our desire to fight for the cause.
“It’s one of the key things in a game, if they don’t score then they don’t win. One of our main targets in a game is to stop the opposition scoring. We lost one of our main tacklers as well, Justin Tipuric, to a yellow card, but we stepped it up a bit and dug in as a team, we really worked hard for each other.
“We are a really tight bunch here now, there’s a really good atmosphere around here and it’s a enjoyable place to play rugby.”
With regards his try, Dirksen was christened ‘The Mole’ by team-mate Ian Gough when he spoke to the media post-match, after the unorthodox way he finished off the move, dipping low under the tackle of Dave Kearney to ground it in the corner. He admits he was pretty relieved that it paid off, particularly after a couple of chances had already gone begging:
“I’ve always thought about that one, when playing wing, to go in the corner very low, and I had the opportunity to try it out. I dived pretty early and I didn’t think I’d get there so it was a big relief to actually ground the ball.
“I had a couple of chances before that. I didn’t want to go for the one just before as I thought I might lose the ball so I recycled and scored a couple of minutes later. I was happy with that.”
With the first competitive game now under their belts, the 20-year old is expecting the Ospreys to make another step-up against Edinburgh at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday:
“Match fitness is the best kind of fitness really and you only get that after a few weeks of playing” stressed Dirksen.
“It was quite warm on Friday night as well, so it was important to keep hydrating to keep the cramps away. People got tired on Friday but we are another week on now and will all be feeling better to have that game behind us.
“It’s good to get a win but we don’t want to get too excited about it. It was only the first game of the season obviously. We are just happy to have two home games to start with, to get comfortable with each other as a team in our ground and in front of our own fans.
“Obviously we’ll work hard this week to try and improve on the bits of our game where we didn’t get it right on Friday and we’ll be hopeful of improving and reaching a higher standard again on Saturday evening when we play Edinburgh. We will do our analysis, pick out the areas we need to improve in and work hard in training to put things right. If we can do that, I’m sure we’ll send the fans home happy.”