Steve Tandy was understandably a delighted man on Boxing Day having watched the Ospreys provided their supporters with the perfect Christmas present, a convincing win over local rivals the Scarlets at the Liberty Stadium, but he has challenged the players to maintain the standards of recent weeks when they face the Dragons and Zebre inside five days next week.
With the Ospreys still outside the play-off spots despite the 29-point victory over a Scarlets team that remains in second place, Tandy knows that the Ospreys need to get two positive performances. With the focus now on the New Year’s Eve clash at Rodney Parade, Tandy acknowledged that the team had got their just rewards against the Scarlets.
"It was a dominant forward display but tactically we were also spot on” he said in the post-match press conference on Boxing Day.
"Some of our attacking kicks put us in the right area to have that forward dominance and our all-round team performance was outstanding. It was all happening out there at the end and I have not really looked at the incidents.
"That is when the game got a bit frantic and it got all over the shop. I thought our discipline was outstanding in defence and we did not give away a lot of penalties away. We know the Scarlets have a lot outstanding attack threats but we are comfortable without the ball and we have some good defenders.
“We are comfortable with our defence. We spoke before the game that we didn’t want to give cheap penalties away, and we worked hard on that throughout the week. We pride ourselves on our defence and our discipline in and around the contact area was very, very good.”
Tandy insisted that the players won’t spend any time gloating about their derby day victory with two hugely important games on the immediate horizon, saying:
“The group are sitting in there, wanting to recover because they know we have a massive game against the Dragons on New Year’s Eve. Zebre are bottom of the table, but if we can get anywhere near the support we had tonight back here for that one, fingers crossed it’ll be a decent Christmas for us.
“We don’t want that bubble to burst. We have massive games coming up. We have never fared well at the Dragons and want to put it right. We come back here and we’ll look for at least four points against Zebre; then we are back in the Heineken. We’re involved in all competitions at the minute.
“If I’m being really greedy, we’re disappointed we didn’t pick up a bonus point against the Scarlets after all that dominance, but it says everything that we were 32-3 up at the end and still didn’t want to give up a cheap try. They were fighting as if we had a one-point lead, which is testament to the quality of this group. It’s not about individuals. Don’t get me wrong: We have world-class individuals, but everyone is contributing and that’s a special thing. You look at the bench against the Scarlets. We had confidence in people and used everyone. We’re in a reasonable place, but that can come down quite quickly.”
Responding to questions from the assembled media, Tandy did agree with the view that the halfback pairing of Fotuali’i and Biggar had again been very influential:
"Kahn understands the way we want to play and he and Biggar are driving things at the moment. But you have to look at Nipper and Webby underneath. They are pushing and pushing and having limited opportunities. I see Webby as being one of the best nines in Wales, yet he’s not having the chances he possibly deserves. But Kahn is world-class at the minute, so it’s great for us.”