Reflecting on last weekend's Heineken Cup win over Munster, hooker Richard Hibbard has paid tribute to his fellow forwards for their efforts in the scrum which gave the Ospreys a solid base on which to build their victory.
Six of Dan Biggar’s 14 points came directly from scrum offences as the Ospreys held the upper hand in that crucial area of the game, and while the front row has been coming in for praise from all quarters, Hibbard is quick to point out that success in the scrum is about “a whole unit working well together”.
“It was a tremendous effort from all the forwards” said Hibbard.
“Me being in the middle of the front row, with Adam and Paul either side is an amazing experience, it’s almost an armchair ride for me! Then Duncan comes on and it’s exactly the same! Thankfully we are well blessed for props here, there are some good young ones coming through as well. We’ve made great strides with our scrummaging and it’s a tribute to Jonathan Humphreys.
“It’s not just about the front row working well, you’ve got the second row who are really underrated in scrums because they give an awful lot physically, and then if the back row get up, then we know they have because we aren’t going forward any more, so it’s a whole unit working well together.
“It’s not about individuals, you can have the best in the world in one position but if the others aren’t working hard enough then the scrum won’t go well. The whole unit has to be working hard and aiming for the same goal. We can’t let ourselves get carried away though. It’s nice to get some praise for our efforts but we won’t pay too much attention to it. We’ll just keep working hard at the basics.”
The win over Munster means the Ospreys remain very much in contention in a very tight Pool 3, with both the Irish province and French side Toulon also still chasing a Quarter-Final place, with two games still to play. Hibbard insists that no one at the Ospreys will be taking anything for granted just yet:
“We’re pretty happy with where we are the moment, with two games to go. We can look at the Toulon game or Munster away and say maybe we should have had this or done that, but that won’t change anything. We are where we are and we know what the situation is. We know what we’ve got to do, it will be two difficult games, but we knew that when the pool was drawn. It’s a great competition and there are no easy games, but we believe we’ve got the tools in our armoury to do it.”
Turning his attention towards the Magners League and the Christmas derbies against the Scarlets and Cardiff Blues, Hibbard says that this year the games have taken on extra significance:
“It’s always good fun at Christmas with the local derbies to keep people interested. I’m looking forward to them. I know Europe is big but in many people’s eyes, these are the games that matter. They are important games in terms of the Magners League, we are in fourth and taking away local rivalry, we are playing the two teams above us so it’s important that we do well. As players, we are up against our rivals for the Welsh team, which gives us another reason to want to do well. You really need to perform in these games.
“There was 12,000 there on Saturday and they created a brilliant atmosphere, so with a full house there on Boxing Day it will be electric. The effort our fans made to get there was first class, and then they really got behind us. They were brilliant, all credit to them. I know the weather is still bad but they’ve got their tickets for this one, and if they make the same effort and the same noise when they get to the Liberty it will be a pretty amazing afternoon.”