Play off experience will help Ospreys says

As the Ospreys prepare for a tough end of season period that gets underway with a Welsh derby against the Dragons at the Liberty Stadium next Friday night (KO 7.05pm), Kahn Fotuali'i says that the team will benefit from being able to call on the experience of last season's unbeaten run-in that saw then win their last five games of the regular campaign to book a play-off place.

After back-to-back defeats against Ulster and Glasgow this time last year the Ospreys hopes of reaching the last four had taken a big knock, only for the region to bounce back and go five from five with a string of impressive team performances.

It’s a bit different this season, with the Ospreys having only lost twice in their last 14 PRO12 fixtures, but a sluggish start to the season where they lost the opening three matches has left the team playing catch-up as the campaign reaches a critical point.

There are just five games to go, three of which are on the road, and the Ospreys currently sit one place and point below the crucial fourth spot cut-off, but Fotuali’i quite rightly insists there’s everything still to play for.

“We are still in the hunt, very much so, and that is what everyone has to focus on” said the Samoan, who has captained the team in recent weeks in the absence of Alun Wyn Jones.

“We can only do what we can do, which is perform well, be prepared, know our jobs and be clinical when we’re out there. It sounds like I’m oversimplifying it but that’s what it’s about.

“We can’t worry about the Scarlets, or who has more points at the moment as that will change week by week, or control what Glasgow, Ulster or Leinster, the teams above us, do. What we can worry about is how we perform and that’s what the coaches will be drilling into everyone. We’ve got to focus on ourselves and perform as a team.

“It’s all about us, making sure we get the right performance. If we focus on doing our own jobs right then other things should take care of itself.”

Having ended last season with an unbeaten run that saw the Ospreys win the last five regular season fixtures before extending their fine form into the play-offs, Fotuali’i believes that experience will prove crucial this time around:

“Last season was all about how we started and ended the season. There was a tricky patch in the middle but we stuck at it, worked together as a team and got our rewards. The run we went on in the closing weeks to secure a semi-final was pretty impressive and we are looking at needing to do the same this year.

“That’s the main thing that we need to keep at the front of our mind going into the Dragons game, and we need to keep it there week in, week out. We do have that experience, we can use that to give us confidence that we’ve been through this before, and kick-on to defend our title. We’ve got to use that to our advantage, as other teams involved haven’t been in that position. If we keep doing what we need to do, performing well as a team, that can put pressure on the teams above us and who knows what will happen?

“All I do know is that we will be giving everything we’ve got for the cause over the next five or six weeks, and hopefully beyond that.”

Tickets for the crunch game against Newport Gwent Dragons on Friday 22nd March are available to buy now from the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office, online at and via the Ticket Hotline on 0844 815 6665.