Sean Holley admitted that the coaches were disappointed with the Ospreys performance on Friday night as they extended their winning start to the season, but the determination and resolve was a pleasing element of the victory over Connacht.
The region is now the only team with a 100 per cent record after the first five rounds of the RaboDirect PRO12 following Munster’s defeat in Edinburgh, but with a trip to Thomond Park next up on the fixture list, Holley stressed that the Ospreys will have to improve their game significantly if they are going to keep their unbeaten record intact.
Speaking shortly after the final whistle at the Liberty Stadium on Friday night, Holley said:
“We didn’t play anywhere near to how we can play, so we’re very disappointed with ourselves tonight. We haven’t dealt with Connacht’s threat. They are a very difficult team to beat, they came with a game plan and it very nearly paid off for them so we are disappointed with our performance but satisfied with the outcome.
“We’re about improving, so whereas the scoreboard reflects we’re unbeaten, we’ve still got areas to work on.
“The pleasing aspect is that the boys are showing a lot of determination and resolve. They are playing for each other, playing for the shirt and the cause, and it’s shining through at the end of games where we are getting across the line.
“There are a lot of teams that don’t have those characteristics. It’s what we’re working towards. We worked hard over the summer, particularly with a lot of our squad away, to have some character and true values in the squad, and we’ve certainly found that we’ve got that.
“I’m really pleased with all 23, the boys who were on there at the end, the two boys who didn’t get on the field, their attitudes are just as good. But, we’re all disappointed in aspects of our performance.
“They had clear aims to slow our ball, and if we don’t deal with those threats then we suffer the consequences. We had a lot of slow ball, too much parity in terms of our phase play, and therefore, a lack of field position and dominance. That reflects in turnovers and on the scoreboard so we’re not scoring or creating as much as we would like. That’s a big ‘work on’ for us and we’ll keep working towards that.
“We wanted a good start, to try to get on top and we got the early score, but you’ve got to give credit to Connacht, they showed a lot of resilience and resolve themselves. They are a tight group and I think they deserved their bonus point in the end. A tough night.
“You don’t win anything in September. Every game is difficult in this competition, trust me. Aironi won last week, Treviso, Edinburgh have turned over Munster tonight and the Dragons have beaten Ulster. Anyone can beat anyone. Connacht came here expecting to turn us over. That’s great for the competition, but it just shows how difficult it is.
“We are very proud to be the only unbeaten team, but the challenge now is to go to Munster next week, improve our performance, and remain unbeaten.
“Munster will be very similar to Connacht over the ball so we have to be far more accurate at that tackle area. We have to get our ball carriers into the game and get across the gain line, which we failed to do tonight. If we can do that we’ll apply some pressure onto Munster and we’ll be in better positions. We didn’t get into those positions tonight.
“I think as well that the second game in five days took its toll on us a little bit, mentally and physically. We didn’t defend as aggressively as we normally do and we suffered the consequences. One things for sure, we’ll come back determined for next week now, we’ve got an eight day turnaround so there’ll be a couple of days off for the boys and we’ll be back at it."