Sean Holley was a relieved man at the final whistle, but he says that the Ospreys are looking forward to a Thomond Park return next weekend.
After a tough 80 minutes in Viadana, a late, late penalty from James Hook secured the win, and with it, a place in the play-offs, and Holley acknowledged that while he was disappointed with the performance, he was pleased to still be in the mix.
Speaking to the media after the final whistle, Holley said:
“We’re disappointed with our display today, and we’re disappointed with our form since the Six Nations, but you’ve got to say that thanks to the introduction of the play-offs, over the course of a season with 22 games, the table doesn’t lie. In that respect, we’ve just about earned the right to be there throughout the season. But, we’re disappointed with how we’ve played recently.
“I think we played most of the rugby tonight, we went out to win it rather than not to lose it. We had some missed penalties, and a drop goal at the end, and perhaps showed impatience at times in attack. We lost the ball a hell of a lot, there were countless times in the first half when we couldn’t really get into our game because we were knocking the ball on. The boys were trying a bit too hard at times, when we just needed to keep hold of the ball and keep the pressure on Aironi. But full credit to them, they tackled hard and made it extremely difficult for us.
“We never gave up hope. I remember us beating Edinburgh in the eighth minute of injury time up at Motherwell many years ago, so I learnt to never give up hope. Perhaps we were due a little bit of luck, things haven’t swung our way at times recently but you make your own luck. The boys kept fighting to their end, and to their credit, at the end we did show a bit of champion spirit. We dug deep. We haven’t played very well but we’ve come away with a win.
“The play-offs certainly make the end of the season exciting, my blood pressure is sky high. We had the communications coming through minute by minute from all the games.With us losing 10-9 the Scarlets were probably in touch with our game and that would have helped us oddly enough, as it was spurring them on to the victory against the Blues as that was what they needed. We just felt that if we could get the field position then we could force a penalty or a drop goal and that was the case in the end.
“It’s the nature of the Magners League at the moment that we can’t expect to come to places and walk a win. I said pre-match that Aironi and Treviso have improved so much over the season. Roland knows us very well and they are a very proud team, which augurs well for the tournament, but there are no easy games at this level. Biarritz found that out, getting beat here a few months ago. We are just delighted to get over the line and as a group, we have to move on from here.
“We’ve got to go to Thomond Park now, it’s the fifth time that we’ve played Munster this season now. The shackles are off, we’ve probably felt a bit of pressure the last few weeks. Having got ourselves into such a strong position during the Six Nations we just haven’t performed. It’s our own fault but having dug deep our season restarts here.
“We’ll go there as underdogs. We know that we can go there and win, we did that last season, and we believe that Munster won’t want to play us, but it makes for a great one-off game.
“We should be growing and we should be dealing with the champion tag. We set our stall out for that at the start of the season, we wanted to retain the title and show what we could produce, It didn’t happen for us in Europe, it was tough, but in the Magners we are still in it, we are there and it could still happen for us.
“It’s a big thank you to the Scarlets, but a bigger thank you to the supporters who travelled here and got behind, and to the supporters that have supported us all year.”