Head Coach Sean Holley spoke honestly about his disappointment after the Ospreys were beaten by Ulster at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday night.
Speaking to the assembled media post-match, he said that there would be some tough decisions to be made before the Ospreys take on European champions Leinster at the Liberty Stadium on Friday. He commented:
“It was a pretty undercooked performance, and a disappointing one from our point of view. A lot of credit has got to go to Ulster, they made it difficult for us tonight. We couldn’t get our set-piece functioning very well, they fanned well in defence and blitzed hard, and our boys found it difficult to cope with. We’re pretty disappointed but not down and out. We’ve got a long way to go, you don’t win anything in September.
“We’re in the entertainment business and we didn’t entertain tonight. People are paying good money to watch us and we have to improve. It was a poor performance so we probably deserved to get booed off. I’m disappointed about the fact that we haven’t impressed our supporters, there’s nobody more disappointed than me, I want to win more than anybody else. There’s a heap of disappointed players in the dressing room, they want to win as well.
“We’re in training tomorrow and Monday, and we’ll review the game. We’ve got to keep going where we want to be heading. It doesn’t happen in two games, we have to build what we believe is right, but we’ve had a setback tonight. It was a difficult night, maybe some boys have been believing their own press recently and they’ve had a rude awakening. There’s no easy games in the Magners League, Ulster had a bit of a tuning last week at the Dragons, but they turned it around in a week and played really well tonight, and there’s no reason we can’t do that in a week. We’re going to need to as we’re up against a really difficult team next week. We’re disappointed but we’ve got to pick ourselves up, work hard and put it right. Ulster got in our faces tonight more than they did against the Dragons last week, they were excellent, you can’t take that away from them.
“Individually, there’s no doubt our players are talented, but rugby is a team sport. I think Ulster showed tonight how cohesive they were, and when time was going on and we were a bit behind, those individuals tended to become individuals when what was actually required was a cohesive unit effort and we didn’t get that at times. We did at times, for our second try, and I think we tried to grasp it a bit in the second half, we were a little bit more direct and tried to suck Ulster in a bit, but we didn’t get our rewards from that, we spilled the ball.
“Ian Humphries was a threat, I thought that their back-row was outstanding and Isaac Boss was also a threat. On the night we couldn’t really cope with it and that’s disappointing. We’ve got people who are good over the ball, who played really well but were nullified tonight. Clearly the ball we were trying to generate was quite slow, it allowed Ulster to fan in defence and we found it difficult to play. We ended up getting a little bit flat, were forcing the pass and it played into Ulster’s hands. Their second try was a case in point. Obviously certain things that we’ve been working on since Johnno arrived will take a little bit of time, what we can’t do is look for a quick fix now, we’ve got to continue to believe in where we’re going.
“We’ve changed a few things over the summer and I think it’ll take a little bit of time, but with Europe around the corner we haven’t got a lot of it. There’ll be some tough selections for next week, a few people are going to have take things on the chin, and we’ll need to get our team right.”