Jonathan Spratt has no doubt that what he describes as a “pretty relentless” pre-season schedule will be of long-term benefit to the Ospreys in the forthcoming campaign.
The Welsh international centre captained his region in Friday night’s disappointing loss to Worcester, the opening game of a week-long trio of contests for the Ospreys that the coaches believe will have the team up and running in fine fettle when they kick-off the PRO12 against Treviso at the Liberty Stadium on the first weekend of September.
Sitting outside the plush hospitality suite in the West Stand at Sixways, just 30 minutes or so after the final whistle, Spratt was pretty clear where he felt the game was won and lost. He said:
“There were parts of it where we did really well, other areas of the game where we didn’t get it right and paid the price. A large part of the story is about our errors; giving them scores that they didn’t have to work too hard for, and then failing to take our chances That’s probably what’s most disappointing about the performance.
“We’re obviously disappointed about losing the game. We know that this is just one part of our preparation for the new season though and no matter how disappointed people are at the final whistle we’ve got to stay focussed on being ready for Treviso in a few weeks time.”
The early setback of conceding a try after just 10 or so seconds put the Ospreys on the back foot immediately, but Spratt was pleased with the reaction he saw from his charges, even if they were to prove the architects of their own downfall on more than just that occasion:
“To concede so early on changed the landscape for everybody, but I was pleased how we stuck at it in the first half. If we’d finished off just one of the chances we created then it could have been a very different second half. In that first half we kept the ball well through the phases, showed some good attacking intent, and created a good platform. One extra pass here, or being a bit more clinical in possession going forward at times, could have made all the difference.
“You’ve got to give credit to Worcester, they did show glimpses of what they could do but ultimately, for long periods we were quite comfortable in defence, we shepherded them quite well. We made some basic errors though which let us down, that made it easy for them, and they jumped on that. There’s no hiding away from the fact that we gave them three tries with mistakes that shouldn’t be happening, pre-season or not.
“They capitalised on a loose pass or two, some rash moments in defence, and that’s disappointing. It’s something to work on, something for us to focus on if we want to be as good as we have to be this season to achieve anything.
“It was a good run-out for those of us involved, no matter about the result, and we’ve blown away the cobwebs. There was some rustiness, some new boys getting to know the systems and some youngsters coming through the ranks, and now we’ll focus on the Gnoll next Tuesday, a place that is very familiar to lots of us. After that it’s Saracens on Thursday and another tough evening. It’s pretty relentless, but it’s what we need to make sure we are in a good place for the start of the season in a few weeks time.
“The last two months in training, these friendlies, that’s what they are all about, to get the squad ready for business from the first game of the PRO12 season.”