Young lock Lloyd Peers says that the Ospreys let themselves down in the final five minutes of their Heineken Cup campaign, as they allowed Treviso to overturn an 11-point deficit to inflict a third defeat of the competition on the region.
Despite knowing that they had no hope of progressing through to the last eight of either European competition following last weekend’s Liberty Stadium draw against Leicester, the Ospreys had travelled to Italy hoping to end on a high against their PRO12 rivals, but having put themselves into a strong position with an accomplished performance for 75 minutes they allowed all their good work to be undone at the death.
Peers acknowledged that it hadn’t been how the group had hoped to sign off in Europe for the season, saying:
“We definitely should have won this game, we put in a great performance for 75 minutes of the game and put ourselves in a good position but the last five minutes we really let ourselves down. I think the boys showed a lot of character again but it’s just disappointing to lose, to finish off a campaign like that.
“It’s disappointing for the team to finish off like this, to lose the game in the manner we did. Generally I’d say it’s been a pretty positive experience for us, we’ve put in some good performances, just as we did on the whole today. At times though we haven’t got the result we would have wanted, and that’s definitely been the case over the last two weekends.”
One of the pleasing aspects of this European campaign has been the rise to prominence of a number of young Ospreys, Peers included, and he says that while it’s a good sign for the region’s future, there’s a lot of hard work to be done still.
“There have been a few players come through this season at the same time, which is nice for us as team-mates and really good for the Ospreys” said Peers.
“Personally, it’s been a big few months for me with my Heineken Cup debut and now my first start, and I’ve really enjoyed going toe-to-toe with some of the biggest teams in Europe.
“I think we’ve done well as a young group and the strength of the squad is growing. The boys coming into the team may not be big names to replace the big names we’ve lost to injury but I’d say that everyone who’s stepped in has done really well. It’s been a real positive for the region and we need to make sure we use this experience to spur us on for the rest of the season and for next year as well.
“We can’t just sit back and think we’ve made it because we’ve worn the shirt we’ve got to keep on developing and improving. We don’t want to just compete and be brave losers, we want to win games.”
While his young second row colleague James King will now go away on Six Nations Duty, Peers will switch his focus to the LV= Cup and a Welsh derby at Rodney Parade, and then a game against Harlequins at his club ground, the Riverside Hardware Brewery Field, the scene of his first regional start 12 months ago.
“I’m really looking forward to the LV” he said.
“It’s a real good chance for even more young boys to step up and show they are ready. We’ve got Dragons away next week then it’s great to back to Bridgend, as a Ravens player, for a special day against Harlequins which is something to look forward to.
“Then we’ve got a very tough month in the league. We put in some positive performances over Christmas to go into the top four so hopefully we can keep that going and a few more boys will make their mark while the Wales boys are away.
“We’ve got three Irish teams away. We’ve shown before that we can go over there and win but we’ll need to really play well this time around. We’ll have to learn from where we lost it against Treviso, to shut games down and make sure we get the win the performance probably deserved.”