Ospreys staff

Simon Thomas piece: Ospreys soar high

After the Ospreys' historic win over the Stormers, Simon Thomas spoke to Toby Booth to get his thoughts after the game.

For the Ospreys, the big goal this season has been to earn respect and they will certainly have done just that with their stunning 27-21 bonus point victory over the DHL Stormers in Cape Town.

It goes down as one of the finest results in the Welsh region’s 20-year history, given the Stormers have been BKT URC finalists for the past two years and considering how hard they are to beat in their own back yard.

The Ospreys became only the third team - after the Emirates Lions and Munster Rugby - to record a league victory in Cape Town, while it was just the second Welsh win in South Africa in the three seasons of the expanded 16-team competition.

It’s also a result which has given their play-off hopes a huge boost, keeping them in seventh spot with four rounds of matches left to play.

It was a famous and thoroughly deserved triumph built upon mighty scrummaging, heroic defence and taking their chances in attack, with Luke Morgan crossing twice out wide and forwards Sam Parry and Harri Deaves forcing their way over from close range after sustained collective carrying.

Delighted head coach Toby Booth said: “We talked a lot about what we wanted this season to look like and one of the phrases the players came up with is they wanted to earn respect and I think performances like that help everyone involved in the camp earn some respect.

“It was a really great reflection of an unbelievable group.

“I am so proud to be here talking about a team that has so much resilience and so much ability to find a way in difficult moments. They have got big hearts.

“When we talk about finding a way, often it’s built on competitiveness, heart, energy, a never-say-die attitude. We are a good team when our backs are up against the wall, for sure. That comes from a group that cares about each other a lot and are prepared to do things that take no talent, because those are the things that get it done - and it got it done.

“I thought it was quite ironic that the three players I spoke to as they came off were disappointed that the Stormers got a losing bonus point at the death. That probably tells you quite a lot.”

Booth added: “The Stormers are an unbelievable team, especially here. We had to find a way to hang in there and win key moments and we did that enough.

“I can’t speak highly enough for the guys because they are the ones out there. They have to go and do it and they did it brilliantly.

“It was quite an excited changing room after the game, with a lot of emotion kicking around. You have got to enjoy these moments.

“I am very proud to sit here and be the leader of this team, but they should be equally proud of the amount of respect they are earning for themselves.”

Adding his assessment on a game played in front of a 15,829 crowd, Player of the Match Morgan Morris said: “I don’t think many teams win here, so it’s an incredible achievement for us. Everyone put in a shift. Every game, we fight to the end for each other.”

The Ospreys now head up to Pretoria to take on the Vodacom Bulls, with fit-again hooker Dewi Lake set to be available to bolster their ranks along with fellow international forwards Justin Tipuric and Gareth Thomas.