Skipper for the day, Justin Tipuric, has urged the Ospreys to ensure they back up Saturday’s win over Munster with another quality performance when Zebre visit the Liberty later this month.
The Italians provide the opposition in the region’s next game, a PRO12 clash on Saturday 28th March (7.15pm KO), and while happy with the form of his colleagues in the victory against the Irish visitors, when he spoke after the game Tipuric insisted that nobody will be getting carried away.
“This result will mean nothing if we don’t follow it up against Zebre so that has to be the challenge, to find the consistency needed” he said.
“We’ve got five games left now, they aren’t easy, and each one of them is vital if we are going to finish the season where we want to be.
“We know what Zebre can do. It’s not a year since they turned us over and we only won by a point out there at the start of the season so we’ll have to perform to this level again or what we’ve gained in this game will be wasted.”
Reflecting on what was, in the end, a comprehensive success against Munster, Tipuric was clear not just on the importance of the victory but, also, the manner of the success.
“It’s a massive win for us” continued Tipuric.
“For us to get a comfortable win against the side who were top of the table this weekend, and to stop them getting even a point, that’s a great achievement and just what we needed as a team.
“Munster are a good team, we knew that they would come here strong and even at half-time the talk was that they would be relentless and keep going til the final whistle so we knew we had to match them in all aspects of the game. We had to dig in at the end a little bit after controlling long periods but I don’t think anyone could argue that our performance was worthy of the win.
“We needed a massive performance, and that was the message in training all week. In fairness to the boys, they delivered what the coaches wanted and showed great spirit. That was important given recent results and how we’ve slipped down the table a bit in the last month. We wanted to stop that, to bounce back and make sure we stayed in the mix.
“Our discipline was very good, in the first half in particular, from one to fifteen everyone knew their roles, everyone was performing in the right area of the field, and we put them under pressure. That’s why they gave the penalties away that they did, and that’s where we won the game really.
“We were excellent with the extra man after their yellow card and that 10 minutes were crucial. It was a 50/50 kick at goal, and when you’re got a yellow card advantage you’ve got to make the most of it. You’ve got to back yourself sometimes and thankfully it came off for us, we got it right and were able to put distance between us at half-time which was important.”
With pressure set to mount as the race for the play-offs continue, Tipuric insisted that the squad will handle whatever increased expectations there may be, saying:
“That’s what being an Osprey is about. There is always internal pressure to perform and to live up to the standards of this region. We put ourselves under pressure, and we’ll keep on pushing for the play-offs regardless of what else is happening or what ever outside expectations of the group may or may not be.
“We want to compete and it doesn’t matter how young or how old you are, that is the standard we set as a team.”