Head Coach Sean Holley reflects on a keenly contested Welsh derby that ended up with the Ospreys and the Blues sharing the spoils at the Liberty Stadium.
Speaking to a packed media room shortly after the final whistle, Holley acknowledged that it was two points lost for the Ospreys as the race for the Grand Final goes to the wire:
“We haven’t performed in these last two weeks as we can” he said.
“It’s two points dropped for us really tonight. I’m disappointed, we showed some glimpses, but it was tight.
“I think both sides took the laws to the edge and it was a difficult one for the ref to manage. The tacklers weren’t really rolling away were they? There was a bit of going in from the side, the offside lines were really stretched to the limits. It’s tough for the ref. We felt that we had the upper hand in the scrum, particularly the second half, and it will be interesting to look at those last two scrums again.
“It was always going to be tight but I just felt that we could have done enough to squeeze over the line. We didn’t take our chances really, when we had the field position, which is disappointing. We can’t mope about it though, there’s not enough time. There’s three games left and we’ve got to look at it as every point counts now. It’s still in our own hands.
“There’s still a lot of rugby to be played in the Magners League this season, anything can happen. I see it going down to the wire, which is great for the competition but I’d be far more comfortable if I was sat on four or five points tonight, but it wasn’t to be. We never felt as though we could shake them off, but fair play to them, they tested us. Both sets of players knew how important a win would be and I think we’ve all come off a bit disappointed with two points each.
“I’m struggling to remember any real openings for either side really. We had to defend in our 22 in the first half as a result of missing simple tackles higher up the field. We missed tackles on Xavier Rush straight from the kick-off, if you miss first up tackles then you can expect to be on the back foot. Then again, we looked comfortable even 10m from our own line and likewise, the Blues.
“I think 10 or 15 minutes from the end we pressed a button to say ‘we must drop at goal here’, from too far out, when maybe we should have shown more patience and built closer to the posts.
“It’s about mental strength now, the pressure is on all the sides to pick up wins. You have to be really focussed. We’ve got to take heart from some of our performances in the past, when we went out to Dublin last year for the Grand Final, we went to Munster and won out there as well. That’s the sort of mental approach we need, but we aren’t quite there. Now we’ve got the whole squad back, we’ve inched forward a little bit, certainly from last week, but it needs to go up a notch again. There can’t be any more excuses.”