Matt Sherratt discusses this Saturday's final home game of the season against Dragons in the Guinness PRO14
We’ve rounded up all the key points from, Backs / Attack Coach, Matt Sherratt’s press conference at Llandarcy on Tuesday, ahead of the final home-game of the season, as we take on the Dragons at the Liberty Stadium. K.O. 3pm.
Here’s what he had to say about…
The Welsh Contingent Returning:
- It’s their first day back in today, so depending on how much game time they’ve had over the Six Nations and being in the Welsh camp would have been mentally draining as well, it’ll be a case by case basis.
- The plan today was to get everyone back in training. The Wales contingent has had an extra day off, so we’ll see where we are on Thursday.
- It’s a boost having them back in, and everyone is genuinely delighted for them – it’s a fantastic achievement. It’s just about getting the balance right now.
- Its going to be tough for them coming back in from playing in probably the biggest game of their career in front of a packed Principality Stadium and then obviously everything that goes around winning a Grand Slam, to get back to reality is probably going to take a bit of time.
- For me this week, its just about them integrating back into the group. As long as they are up and ready and motivated by Thursday/ Friday team run, then it’s happy days.
Players Fit for Selection for Saturday’s Game:
- Pretty much everyone is available for selection, but who is selected has not been decided yet.
- George North will probably not be available, but I don’t know what the extent of his situation. He’s come in today to be checked by medical but as we’ve literally just finished training, I’m not sure on him.
- Alun-Wyn Jones had a knock, but again I’m not sure about his situation. I don’t think it’s anything majorly serious, but I think as we speak he’s in with the medical staff.
- It’s all pretty healthy to be honest.
The Last Few Weeks:
- Third, fourth, fifth are always going to be hotly contested. Obviously, there’s no getting away from it that we haven’t been happy with our last block – we’ve had some real tough, narrow defeats.
- If you look at the league tables and results, it probably doesn’t tell the full story. Munster was a one-score game, Ulster until the last minute was a one-score game – it’s only really Connacht that we didn’t perform as well as we would have liked.
- It’s been tough for the group that has been here. There’s been a lot going on here off the field and then added on top of that to have some pretty close defeats – it’s been a tough six or seven weeks. I can’t credit enough the players who have been left here, with the circumstances in Welsh rugby and a little bit of uncertainty.
- Their attitude towards training and playing has been top-rate and they’ve shown a lot of character in how they’ve turned up to play for the Ospreys.
- How our players and staff have coped with the situation over the last week or so, has been a real credit to them.
Saturday’s Game Against the Dragons:
- They always say, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s almost gone”, and I think that little bit of a scare, a lot of our supporters – and rightly so – were very vocal, and there was a real groundswell of emotion towards the Ospreys. Hopefully you’ll see that with the attendance on Saturday and off the back of the Grand Slam, it’ll be great for our fans to come and see the Internationals.
- We can make a real statement on Saturday that this region is strong, we are staying as it is and let’s get our fans out there to support the players.
Alun-Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric:
- They are two of probably the most experienced rugby players in the world. They are both world-class players and very good leaders. Both, if I’m honest don’t say a massive amount, but their presence and their ability on the training field and the pitch, rubs off on other people.
- Their presence and their ability; it makes other people train and play well. They have a huge influence on the group.
Some of the Younger International Players:
- I think Wales have got a lot of pay back from the last two or three seasons, to the coaches credit they’ve blooded a lot of young players as well. The likes of Alun-Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric and Jonathan Davies have been around for a long time, but probably the emergence of some of the young players have made a difference.
- Just focusing on the Ospreys, with the likes of Nicky Smith, Adam Beard and Owen Watkin, has probably come to fruition in this Grand Slam but it has most likely been built over the last couple of years.
- When they came back from the Autumn, you could see a real difference. Obviously, it was a successful Autumn, they won all four games. You could see in Aled Davies, Nicky Smith, and Adam Beard coming back in that there was an added confidence.
- You’re winning and playing against the best players in the world so coming back to regional rugby and your day-to-day stuff, you can just see some growth and a little bit of a spring in their steps.