Late defeat in Glasgow is déjà vu for Rees

Backs Coach remains positive after watching the Ospreys fall at the last hurdle in Glasgow once again despite a spirited and resilient effort.

After trailing for almost 40 minutes the Ospreys snatched the lead midway through the second half only to be pegged back by their hosts, the PRO12 leaders, who secured the win with a penalty five minutes remaining having come from behind to snatch victory at the death in the same fixture last season.

“There’s a feeling of déjà vu about this one” said Rees.

“It’s definitely a case of mixed feelings looking back at the game, but we’ll try to take the positives out of it. The good thing is that we put together a game plan and everybody was reading the same page, the players stuck to it, and almost got their rewards.

“Early on we were coming unstuck, Glasgow started physically and we struggled to match them but all credit to the boys we settled into it and applied ourselves well. Our set piece was more solid than it has been which allowed us to gain a foothold in the game, and the try was well worked off the back of good lineout ball, Tom Grabham doing what he’s been doing well recently and running a good line.

“I felt that in the 10/15 minute period that followed us going ahead we on the wrong end of some key decisions, we believe that there was a TMO referral that missed a degree of foul play, and the momentum swung against us again unfortunately.”

The best laid plans of the coaches were almost thrown out of the window in the opening 10 minutes with the early departure through injury of Ryan Bevington and Dafydd Howells, but Rees was pleased with the reaction shown by the team.

“Obviously you don’t expect to be losing two players so early on in the game” he said.

“The loose head going off after just three minutes was a blow and then losing your winger inside 10 minutes when you have a 6-2 split on the bench puts you under a bit of pressure.

“Like I said though, we did settle down and certainly took the game to them, to the extent that we can feel disappointed tonight, regardless of the obstacles that were in our way. For a young group that is still developing, a night like this will give them a boost I think, as they will see that they can come away to a top side and push them all the way. They showed great spirit and character, real tenacity, and never gave up the fight which was very pleasing to see. It’s crucial though that we make the next step.

“Looking at the next two weeks now, there’s no mistaking how big a period this is. It’s still incredibly tight at the top now, and yes, we are playing catch-up having slipped out of the top four, but we’ve got a fantastic opportunity to put that right with Leinster and Munster coming to the Liberty Stadium over the next fortnight. There’s no doubt that these are going to be two key fixtures for us, but with those games, and Glasgow still to come to the Liberty as well, our destiny is very much in our own hands so we aren’t going to be too downbeat. It’s about doing things properly, being clinical and having the belief.

“A big Liberty crowd can really make a difference, can play its part in what we are trying to do this season. Expectation has grown outside the camp since the start of the season maybe, but internally, and among our supporters, we realise that we are still building, and these two home games coming up can possibly allow us to continue heading in the right way if everyone pulls together on and off the field.”