It was an evening of mixed emotions for Steve Tandy on Friday night as the Ospreys left Ravenhill with just a bonus point after a narrow defeat against Ulster despite a battling performance.
The Irish province’s star studded squad was pushed all the way by a more youthful Ospreys team, and, although delighted with the effort shown by his players, after the final whistle Tandy was left with the feeling that the win had gone begging.
“There was a lot to be delighted about in that performance but the ultimate feeling is one of disappointment” said Tandy.
“We were very good in a lot of what we did, and I’d say that we probably deserved the win on reflection, but immaturity around our exits in the second half allowed Ulster to keep us boxed in at times. We didn’t execute what we’ve been practicing at crucial times. We need to be more ruthless when we are away at places like Ravenhill, against a team that are one of the best in Europe.
“To be going home disappointed after picking up a bonus point when you look at the difference in resources available to the two sides says a lot about this group of players and about how well they did tonight but, it’s a disappointed dressing room.
“We played tactically well for large periods of the game and I thought we handled the difficult conditions better than Ulster, so it’s disappointing we didn’t get what I think we deserved.
“We struggled to clear our lines in the second half, particularly in the third quarter, and that allowed Ulster to keep us pinned back. Saying that, our defence was first rate and we didn’t give them too many opportunities for all the ball they had at that point. But, we have practiced our exits all week and we didn’t do what we’ve been working on.
“We showed good composure and discipline to not only stay in the game but to end on the front foot and there’s definitely the feeling that we should have got more out of the game. The ball should have been kept alive at the end, we were looking capable of working ourselves into a good position, but we didn’t show the clinical edge we need to win these games and let them off the hook.
“It’s important not to get despondent after a result like this though. We were adventurous in attack despite the conditions, we were positive with ball in hand and there were plenty of good line breaks. Off the back of two good attacking performances in the last two games, it’s a sign of what we are trying to do at the Ospreys and I’m sure that supporters will be pleased with what they’ve seen.
“It’s important that we take that attitude into the two homes games coming up, against Treviso and Munster, but add that cutting edge. These young boys will continue to mature with game time. If we can make that next step in our development, there’s plenty to be excited about.”