“Next three games are crucial”

Tyler Ardron has warned his Ospreys team-mates that they face “a real battle” in their quest to secure a place in the end of season PRO12 play-offs.

The defeat at Edinburgh on Friday night may have been only the fourth in the league this season for the region, but as a consequence the Ospreys slipped from top spot to third in the table following wins for Glasgow and Munster.

Reflecting on the defeat Ardron, skipper in the absence of Alun Wyn Jones, said it had been a self inflicted loss. He insisted that there needs to be a vastly improved performance when the Ospreys head north once again this Saturday to face new table toppers Glasgow.

“It was pretty disappointing” admitted the Canadian.

“There’s no getting away from the silly errors that let us down right the way through the game, in attack and defence. We didn’t do the basics well enough and we paid the price. The most disappointing thing about it was that we did show at times what we were capable of but there were too many mistakes, most of them unforced, and that meant we never really able to get on top in the game. That has to change. We have to look at ourselves.

“There’s a lot of work to be done but it’s important we don’t beat ourselves up too much and lose sight of the that fact there was some good things on Friday. We don’t want to be too despondent, but we have to improve.

“Some young guys have got more exposure in difficult circumstances and it’s another step along the way for them and their development. Hopefully we can build off that and have a more positive week going into Glasgow on Saturday.”

The next three weekends promise to have a crucial bearing on the race for the play-offs with the trip to Glasgow followed by back to back home games against Munster (2nd place) and Leinster (5th), and just six points separating the top five.

“This month was always going to be crucial and I think losing on Friday means that these next few games are more important than ever now, particularly playing the other teams up at the top of the league.

“It’s going to be a real battle between now and the end of the season and, for us, these next three weeks in particular. We need to perform better if we are going to not only stay where we are but start to separate ourselves, put some distance between us and fifth place. These next three games are going to be absolutely crucial.

“It all starts on Saturday and we’ve got to make sure we get our own things right. That’s not taking anything away from what Glasgow are going to bring to us, first things first the reality is we have to get ourselves sorted. If we don’t do that then we’ll be right up against it regardless of how Glasgow perform, and it could get ugly for us.

“At this stage of the season you want to have it in your own hands, you don’t want to lose control and be relying on other teams getting results for you. That’s where we are at the moment, we are in the play-off spots and we need to get the right performance level consistently if we are going to put ourselves in the best position going forward.”

The Ospreys return to the Liberty Stadium for the first time in five weeks when they host Leinster on Friday 27th February, with Munster the visitors the following weekend on Saturday 7th March.

Tickets for both games are on sale now at the Ticket Office, online at www.ospreysrugby.com/buytickets and via the Ticket Hotline on 0844 815 6665.