Jonathan Humphreys praised the effort and the endeavour of the Ospreys as they bounced back from last weekend's defeat in Leicester to secure a first league try bonus point of the season, running in four tries on their way to a comfortable win over Connacht at the Liberty Stadium.
Speaking just minutes after the final whistle, Forwards Coach Humphreys said that he was pleased with the general performance, but indicated that there was still room for improvement.
“It’s very pleasing to get the job done in the manner we did” he said.
“Very, very pleasing actually. It’s probably one of the most difficult weeks to juggle. You build up for a peak and it doesn’t quite work out for you but the effort is phenomenal, it can be difficult to pick yourself straight back up again, particularly when you are up against a team where the public perception is they get beaten a lot, you’re at home, and people maybe expect it to be easier for you than the reality of it.
“We know they are a dangerous side, it was a real tough game, and although not perfect, the endeavour and the effort from the group was outstanding. It took us a little while to get over the disappointment of last week, but the endeavour was outstanding. We got what we wanted out of the game but there’s room for improvement.
“We felt that our process, to get into the right areas, was good but we did turn the ball over a little too cheaply, and a level of frustration crept in from that. In terms of the effort from the group we couldn’t have asked for much more. I don’t think people really understand how much it took out of the boys last week, in terms of the disappointment of it, so it was great to see the group stay together and get what we wanted out of the game.
“There was a level of frustration in the second half. I felt we were creating the opportunities but it’s very difficult to get any momentum into the game when every scrum, or every other scrum, involves a penalty either for or against. It’s just turning it into a nonsense to be honest with you. It’s really frustrating and that game was just littered with stop-start, reset scrums, penalties for and penalties against, it’s a nonsense."
Humphreys also spoke positively about man of the match Eli Walker, the 20-year old wing opening the scoring with his fourth Ospreys try before catching the eye with a series of exciting runs.
“Eli’s performance was outstanding” enthused Humphreys.
“He’s come back from a shoulder injury that he had last season, got it operated on over the summer, and he’s really hit the ground running. He’s a great athlete and he’s probably as quick as anything about, but he’s playing smart rugby right now, he’s looking to get into the game. We want our wingers to be up there with the highest ball carriers and he’s always looking for work. He’s a real positive for us right now.”
With the game untelevised, the decision to kick-off at the traditional 2.30 Saturday afternoon slot was rewarded with a healthy crowd of more than 8,000, comfortably the highest ever attendance for this fixture, something else that pleased Humphreys:
“It was great to see so many people here for the game. For more than 8,000 to come along on a Saturday afternoon shows it was a good decision, and the boys really appreciated that support. We’ve got a big, tough, month coming up and we’ll need the backing of the local public if we are going to continue moving up the PRO12 table, so hopefully we’ll see another good crowd here next weekend when Leinster come to town." (Sunday 4th November, KO 4.00pm)