Ospreys Head Coach, Steve Tandy, was in no mood for excuses after watching his team slip to defeat at the hands of Benetton Treviso on Saturday night.
A poor performance saw the Ospreys go down 13-5 at Stadio Comunale di Monigo, with only a Keelan Giles in first half over-time to show for their efforts and, having never looked like stealing a win, they left Italy with nothing.
Speaking to the press straight after the match, it was put to Tandy if he agreed that it had been an embarrassing evening for the region, and he didn’t mince his words.
“That’s pretty fair if I’m honest” said Tandy.
“In five years of coaching the Ospreys there’s not been many nights like this. We were beaten in all facets of the game tonight. At setpiece, physically they dominated us. Our decision making and execution was poor, we had line breaks but we coughed the ball up.
“Credit to Treviso, they were outstanding whereas we, I thought, were disastrous for large parts, making things really difficult for ourselves. Towards the back end we lost all sense of composure, running in to touch, throwing loose balls around, not winning set piece, everything we’ve worked on throughout the season, what we saw tonight was everything we haven’t done.
“We are pretty embarrassed with that showing.”
Tandy insisted the performance and defeat wasn’t down to complacency. Rather, he insisted, it was down to a lack of attention to detail.
“Definitely not. They are a physical team and we’ve come unstuck here in the past so we knew how tough it could be here. In fairness to our boys, the training week has been spot on, there were no signs of anybody looking too far ahead.
“We spoke before coming out here that we didn’t want to give Treviso anything to feed off but we haven’t controlled the field, we’ve let them keep coming at us and we haven’t taken our opportunities. Ultimately, Treviso deserve everything they got tonight as do we.
“It’s pretty difficult to make tactical changes when you’re not winning set piece, you’re knocking the ball on and you’re not building any phases. I don’t think we barred up physically in the first half in and around our defensive sets. There were a couple of attacks where they started off on or around the halfway line, which set the tone.
“Tactically we could have looked at one or two things but, ultimately, cough up the ball like we did, surrender ground and fail to get the basics right and you are looking at a long night and that’s what we had. It wasn’t good enough by any measure and there’s been some hard words in the changing room.”
With next weekend seeing a change of focus and a huge European quarter-final against Stade Francais, Tandy insisted that the squad can put this set back behind them as they look to bounce back.
“There’ll be changes for next week” he said.
“That was always the plan. We’ll look at our working week, we’ll look at ourselves, as a group. It is a different competition but it would have been nice going into it with a bit of momentum and a positive vibe.
“It’s been a real kick in the guts for us. The only good thing is that the only people who can put it right is us. It’s a disaster for us tonight but we’ve got Stade at the Principality Stadium next week, which is huge for us, and we’ve got to get back to winning ways quickly. It’s knock out rugby and there’ll be no second chance at this. We’ve got to get it right on the night, but we’re excited about it.”