Ospreys were “responsible for our own demise” says Forwards Coach, Chris Gibbes, but he backs a collective effort to turn it around following a fifth defeat of the PRO12 campaign.
After a disappointing afternoon at Scotstoun Stadium, where even a late, losing bonus point snatched away from at the death, Chris Gibbes was clearly frustrated at the way that the hosts had been allowed to pull clear of an Ospreys that had narrowly led for most of the first 50 minutes.
Reflecting on the loss, Gibbes’ frustration and disappointment was abundantly clear.
“That was disappointing to say the least, particularly the last 30 minutes” was his considered verdict.
“We made too many mistakes at key times in the game, we gave them two soft tries, and our discipline simply wasn’t good enough. The possession and territory stats tell the story of the game. We were barely in their 22 all match, just for a matter of seconds all told, but they had seven minutes in ours. You don’t win games with those stats.”
Pinpointing where he thought the game was lost, Gibbes highlighted Ospreys indiscipline, which time and time throughout the match let them down, including almost a quarter of the match where they played a man down due to yellow cards for Josh Matavesi and Ryan Bevington.
“At 50 minutes we were ahead and although it was far from perfect as a group we felt that we were in control of certain aspects of the game” Gibbes continued.
“Yes, we’d made errors but at that point we certainly had a platform that we could build on going into the closing stages of the game which, to be honest, we wasted.
“Our discipline was poor and ultimately that made the difference. You can argue about some of the decisions out there, and we felt that there was a question mark over one or two, but we were responsible for our own demise. Our mistakes, our lack of attention to detail, meant that we found ourselves in positions where we were bringing the ref into the game needlessly.
“Look at the second yellow card, we were in possession, pushing deep inside their half for once. We had them stretched but we got sloppy, let them off the hook and found ourselves under pressure, scrambling to get back up the other end and cover, leading to the penalty. That happened too often this afternoon, we allowed the ref to have an influence on the game where we didn’t need to.”
With Zebre at the Liberty Stadium next Saturday before Exeter Chiefs arrive in Swansea the following weekend for the Champions Cup opener it doesn’t get any easier and Gibbes said now was time for people to pull together – as was the case when the going got tough last season.
“There’s no magic formula. The way out of this hole is to dig in as a collective and work bloody hard” said Gibbes.
“Listen, we went through a couple of similar runs last season, one win in eight games before Christmas and two wins in nine just after it. We didn’t panic then and we won’t panic now. How did we turn it around? Hard work. Hard work and more hard work, along with belief in ourselves. That’s the solution now as well.
“We know it’s frustrating, we know that people will look at the table and pass comment, but we never listen to what is being said about us. Internal expectations are more important and it’s pretty clear that everyone in the environment knows that it’s not good enough right now.
“We’ve got to make sure that we get the most out of each other and the most out of our environment but the areas where we are falling short at the moment are in our control.
“We’re in a difficult period but now isn’t the time for anyone to panic. Like I said earlier, there were things to be pleased with in the first 50 but we must stretch that to 80 minutes. It’s important that everyone sticks together, supporters as much as the players and coaches, because that’s how you get through a sticky patch when the knives come out. We’ve all been there, you learn more about people’s character in the sticky patches than you do when you are winning games.
“We’ve got a busy run of games coming up, three at the Liberty during this month, and we all have to pull together, starting from now.”