Skipper Alun Wyn Jones says the Ospreys must face up to a “true test of the squad” and focus on the short term goal of securing a place in next season’s Champions Cup.
Defeat to French giants Clermont Auvergne on Saturday ended the region’s interests in this year’s competition and with a place in the 2018/19 version still very much up for grabs, the captain said it’s crucial that everyone pulls together to bounce back.
Reflecting on the round 6 loss at Stade Marcel Michelin, Jones said:
“It’s disappointing because of the shape of the pool. The way that we’ve played that was definitely not how we wanted to end up.
“When you are chasing it you make errors and that was the case in point with some of their points, that last try in particular.
“When you come away, particularly somewhere like here, you can’t afford to be that inconsistent, particularly in possession.”
Jones and his Welsh international colleagues will report to the Vale Hotel on Monday to begin preparations for the forthcoming Six Nations campaign and he made it clear what the short term goal for the players remaining at Llandarcy is, with away days against Connacht and Zebre sandwiching a Liberty Stadium South African double header.
“It’s a true test of the squad now, with boys going away for the international period and the challenge that we have in the PRO14” he said.
“We are in a difficult place and we haven’t shied away from that but now we’ll see where we are as a unit and as an organisation as a whole.
“We want to be back in this competition and short term, what’s remaining in this season, that has to be the goal. Beyond that we can’t look too far ahead.”
Asked about his ongoing contract renewal discussions and the prospect of more incoming players joining new recruits Aled Davies and Scott Williams, Jones wouldn’t be drawn.
“I don’t think it’s a day to be talking about who’s coming next year or any individual” he insisted.
“I think the way we’ve played across this competition, Clermont at home in the first round, that was a bitter one to take, Saracens home and away, we are proud of the way we approached the two Northampton games, it’s just disheartening at the way the final one went.
“We’ll consolidate ourselves. I don’t really want to leave the camp like this but like I said, it’s a true test of the squad and the organisation to bounce back.”