His late penalty secured a top four place after a tough night in Italy, but James Hook has warned the Ospreys that they will need to up their game significantly if they are to reach the Magners League Grand Final at the end of May.
Speaking minutes after the final whistle on Friday evening, a clearly relieved Hook was in no mood to offer excuses, saying that the Ospreys performance hadn’t been good enough, but he backed his team-mates to perform well at Thomond Park in a week’s time.
Asked about the pressure he was under to put a late penalty over with the Ospreys trailing by a point, Hook said:
“I knew that I had to kick it to give us some sort of chance of getting through. I didn’t want my last action in an Ospreys shirt for a while to be a miss, and us to go out. There were only a couple of minutes left on the clock, I’m just chuffed it went over, for the team and for myself.
“We all know that it was a poor performance. All credit to Aironi, but we’ve got to take a look at ourselves. We were terrible really, as individuals and as a team. But, there are 22 games in a season and we are in the play-offs so we obviously deserve to be there, if not on this performance.
“As the game went on, Aironi kept in it and we had to grind a victory out. We won, but it was hard earned.
“We were aware of what was happening elsewhere, people bringing the water on were telling us. We didn’t really look like scoring a try, but the win was key and we just managed to scrape it in the end.
“We’ll go to Munster as underdogs and one positive is we can’t play much worse that we did here. We know Munster, it’s the fifth time we’ve played them this season, and it’s the same with them, they’ll know us pretty well. We’ve had some good battles with them in the past, and what we’ve got to do now is forget about this game and concentrate on Munster. It’s a semi-final, there’ll be a big crowd there and hopefully we can pick ourselves up.
“The Ospreys are my home region and I really want to win the league before moving on. We’ve got to go to Munster with a lot of belief and show them what we are as a team. We went to Leinster and won it last year as underdogs so we’ve got to believe in ourselves. We’re a tight knit bunch of boys, and hopefully we can get things together. There’s not much more we can do as far as learning moves and stuff, if we don’t know them by now we never will. It’s about picking ourselves up and giving a good account of ourselves next week, which I’m sure the boys will.”