The Ospreys must play for the full 80 minutes or they’ll pay the price when the European campaign kicks off this week, according to second row Lloyd Peers.
The Bridgend man put in an impressive shift in the engine room during Sunday’s derby win over the Blues on Sunday, but echoing the words of Head Coach Steve Tandy at the post-match press conference, he called for continued improvement from the Ospreys as they switch focus from the PRO12 to Europe.
Sunday’s game saw the Ospreys racing into a 26-3 lead with almost a half hour still to play but the performance fell away in the final 30 and two late, late scores from the Blues gave the final score a different complexion.
“It was a game of two halves almost” said Peers.
“We were looking very strong through that first 50 minutes, doing what we needed to do. We were positive, looking to play rugby, and we got our rewards on the scoreboard. It was probably the best start we’ve had all season in terms of doing what we were supposed to and building a lead. We had a good crowd here and they responded to it, and the atmosphere was first class.
“We started off positively, did everything we’ve worked on in training all week, and it was good to see things coming off for us. I think we got a little bit carried away with where we were in the game though, and didn’t think about how we’d got to that point, what had worked for us. We let a few fundamentals slip, there were a few missed tackles creeping in, we lost some easy ball at the rucks, and allowed them to capitalise from there instead of killing them off, which is disappointing.”
Peers revealed that the mood in the changing room after the game was downbeat despite the win, but he insisted that is a good sign:
“The boys came back into the changing room after the game really disappointed with how the last half hour went. We switched off and let them come back into the game, which shouldn’t have happened.
“The boys were saying that it’s not good enough to concede two tries at the end like we did. We were sloppy and it took the shine off the performance a little bit as the score didn’t really reflect how we had controlled the game for a long period.
“That’s a pretty good place for us to be going into Europe to be honest, with the confidence that comes from a good winning run but the knowledge that we have to work hard to improve off the back of this game. Playing the likes of Northampton, Racing Metro, if we switch off like that we’ll be punished. We can’t slip off like we did in the last half hour today.”
The Ospreys’ European Rugby Champions Cup campaign kicks off at the Liberty on Sunday lunchtime against Benetton Treviso and Peers says the team are up for the challenge.
“We need to put in a full 80 minutes on Sunday” he said.
“We’ve had some bad experiences against Treviso over the last couple of years and I remember playing out there in the Heineken Cup when we were looking comfortable but they came back in the last 10 minutes to win it. We know that we’re going to have to start like we did today but keeping it going for the full for the entire match and not drop off in the last half hour.”