James urges Ospreys to "finish the job off"

Paul James believes that rounding off the season with some Magners League silverware will be a "great reward" for the Ospreys hard work this season.

The durable James, for many seasons an unsung hero at the Liberty Stadium, says that way that the squad has bounced back from the disappointment of the narrowest of defeats to Biarritz in the Heineken Cup quarter-final is a measure of the spirit in the squad.

Faced with three games on the bounce in Ireland after heartbreak in San Sebastian, the Ospreys recorded an impressive couple of wins in Ulster and Munster, as well as a bonus point defeat at the RDS, the venue of Saturday's Grand Final at Leinster, and James admits to a feeling of satisfaction at the way they squad reacted.

"It's been a long hard season, but we have 80 minutes to go which could make all that effort worthwhile" he said.

"Obviously we were disappointed after going out of the Heineken CupĀ  but we've worked hard to bounce back from that and here we are with one game remaining and a trophy at stake.

"I think we performed well in Europe, we came out of a very difficult group, finishing above Leicester, and like I said I think we should have won against Biarritz. When you lose a game like that one, a team can go either way. The boys were absolutely gutted but we wanted to show what we are about, when we spoke about it everybody was determined that it would make us stronger. We said let's just go for it. We dug deep for the next few games out in Ireland, played some good rugby and we haven't looked back.

"It was a brilliant week for us, we all pulled in tight as a team. We worked hard, showed good character and spirit on the pitch, and enjoyed spending a week together off it. Players could have let the disappointment get to them, it's easy for a player to hide when things haven't gone well but no-one did that. What we did is show what we about and make sure we got to the final."

With more Ospreys caps than any other player in the history of the region (148), last month James became the first Osprey to complete a century of Magners League appearances in the Munster win. In his time in the black shirt he has featured in a number of victories over Leinster, but in recent seasons the Dublin based province has held the upper hand over the Ospreys, something that James wants to change:

"We haven't beaten them over the last two seasons but every game has been really tight, just a bonus point defeat, including out there last month.

"We've had a couple of weeks between games and we're all really looking forward to going back out there and, this time, we want to finish off the job and win a third Magners League title. As a squad, all the boys, the management, everybody has worked really hard all season and to round it off with some silverware would be a great reward for our efforts."