Gibbes: “It’s a test of character”

Forwards Coach, Chris Gibbes, has backed the Ospreys to bounce back from their disappointing start to the PRO12 season.

The Ospreys went down to a third straight defeat on Friday night, a promising start that saw the Ospreys leading at the break coming to nothing as they failed to score in the second half, indiscipline and mistakes allowing Edinburgh to deny the visitors even a losing bonus point.

Reflecting on the game shortly after the final whistle Gibbes refused to be too despondent despite another defeat.

“There were long periods, in the first half in particular, where we executed the game plan very well, and did what we wanted to do coming up here” said Gibbes.

“We knew that we were up against tough, physical and experienced opposition, but we believed that we had enough about us to come up here and perform well enough to secure the win.

“Like I said, in the first half in particular we did what we wanted to do and, I felt, were good for that half-time lead. We’d stuck to the plan in the first half hour and, overall, had defended pretty well. After the break though we didn’t really settle and, as they applied pressure, sloppiness started to come it into it and that’s disappointing. There were some individual errors, some inaccuracies or wrong decisions, and that proved the difference at the end.

“The yellow cards obviously proved costly when you reflect on it. It’s hard coming here at any time, they have a big squad that allows them to cope well with international periods, and to play 20 minutes with 14 makes it more difficult. They scored 10 points when we had a man in the bin, that’s a big impact in a match where there was never more than a score between the teams right up until the last five minutes.”

Next up for the Ospreys is a trip to northern Italy in two weeks to face Benetton Treviso, and Gibbes was absolutely clear that the wrongs of the first three weeks could be corrected. He said:

“Obviously we are disappointed to be none from three. It’s stating the obvious to say that it wasn’t part of the plan but we’ll keep chipping away, keep working hard to put this right. What you’ll always get from this group is honesty, and that’s how we’ll approach the review of this game as we take the learning out of it.

“We know that we need to be more accurate than we were tonight, and the attention to detail needs to improve. As a coach, I can’t be too downbeat about tonight because we got a lot of what we wanted to do right. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough.

“It doesn’t get any easier, we’ve got a week off now before another difficult trip, this time to Treviso. There’s no hiding place for anyone, but there’ll be no panic either, we’ll sit down as a group and work our way through this as a team. It’s a test of character for this group but one that we’re up for.”