Steve Tandy gives his team a pat on the back after they claim a first PRO12 win of the season but he warns there is “huge room for improvement”.
The Ospreys bounced back from a disappointing start to the season to produce a performance full of character and determination, not to mention some glimpses of the flair displayed last season as they defeated a Treviso side welcoming back their Rugby World Cup Italian squad members.
Reflecting on his team’s performance shortly after the final whistle Tandy said that the squad had passed a significant test.
“It’s pleasing to get that win under the belt, that goes without saying” he admitted.
“Coming here today was a real test of character with the circumstances being what they are. In fairness to this group, coming to Treviso where we have come unstuck many times, minus 20 players while they had their World Cup contingent back, we have to be very pleased with the outcome.
“We’ve spoken a lot about character since the Edinburgh game. We’ve told them that in times of adversity it was a real test of the group, of their character, and I think that they passed that test this afternoon.”
The Ospreys looked home and dry with 10 minutes left on the clock as they led 22 points to 8, only for them to wobble late on as Treviso pressed.
Although a stunning counter attack saw Jayden Hayward convert his own try to narrow the gap the Ospreys held out, Treviso’s final score to claim the losing bonus point only coming with time up, after they had actually gone for the three points from a penalty to claim the bonus only to see it bounce back into play.
Tandy felt that the Ospreys should have been enjoying a more comfortable advantage at that point:
“I think on balance, we deserved to have a little bit more out of it, we should really have been further ahead by the time they got some points on the board at the end.
“Obviously we left some points out there with missed kicks, but I think we should have had one or two more tries, particularly when you reflect on the dominance we had for half an hour, in the second half in particular.
“The intent we showed was a big positive for me though. It could have been easy for them to go into their shells, they all were painfully aware that we hadn’t scored any tries in the first three but I thought we looked dangerous today.
“We had a good platform to attack from, we had a good setpiece, our scrum looked much better, and the pack deserve credit for that. It allowed us to play in the right areas, which was pleasing to see.
“There were some scary moments as there always are in Treviso, our defence could have been a little sharper at times, but that’s all part of the learning process. You look at young men like Rory Thornton and Sam Underhill who made a big impression today, combined with the experience of Brendon Leonard who really stood up for us, and it was an effective performance.
“Ultimately, we said it was a test of character, we wanted to play the game on our terms, and we’ve done so. It was a better performance because we concentrated on the areas that we can control and as a consequence we got the result. Those two things go hand in hand.”
Connacht visit the Liberty Stadium next Saturday afternoon (1.30pm KO) currently sitting in fourth place with three wins to their credit, and Tandy says that everyone at the Ospreys is well aware of the size of the challenge in stpre for them in a week’s time.
“Nobody will be getting carried away just because we won today” said Tandy.
“We are all well aware that there is huge room for improvement still. We are never satisfied with performance, there will always be aspects that you can improve on, win, lose or draw, and everybody in this environment understands that.
“We’ll go back to Llandarcy on Monday and keep working hard, try to work smarter and learn from these experiences. Losing the first three games, it’s tough to take. We demand the highest standards from anyone involved with the Ospreys so the start to the season has hurt us all. We’ve got to make sure we learn from that.
“The mood in the dressing room is a good one today, the talk is about how we build on this ahead of Connacht next weekend at the Liberty. They’ve started the season very brightly, they are a dangerous team with some real attacking threats and they score a lot of tries. They haven’t had the disruption that some others have had because of the World Cup and have taken advantage of that, picking up some good results.
“Our defence will have to be much sharper. There were too many soft tries again today for my liking so we need to tighten up, definitely. We’ll look at that for next week, but it’s important that we strive to improve in all areas week on week, as we always do.”