Skipper frustrated by Munster loss

Ospreys captain Lloyd Ashley spoke of his frustration on Sunday after Munster grabbed a two-point victory at the Liberty Stadium via a converted try with time up.

It means the Ospreys are still without a win two games into the new PRO12 season, but Ashley insists that the team will remain level headed as they prepare for Rd 3 and the trip to Edinburgh at the start of October. 

“There’s definitely no panic in the camp” he said.

“This was a good Munster team, who haven’t lost many players to the World Cup, and we were in the game for 80 minutes. As disappointed as we are at the moment it’s definitely not time to panic. We know what we can do, we know what we are trying to do and we know what it takes to achieve that.

“We’ve got a few weeks to regroup now before we go to Edinburgh, to get things right. We want to get better as a squad and there is definitely an understanding that we have fallen short in the first two games but we are all working hard to improve.

“The biggest pressure on us is the internal pressure we put on ourselves to perform every week and that is the same win, lose or draw. We’ll review this, reflect on it, pick out the good and the bad, and go from there.”

Speaking about the manner of Sunday’s loss, that saw Munster score with the final play to break Ospreys hearts, Ashley was making no excuses.

“It’s incredibly frustrating to be in a game for 79, almost 80 minutes, and to lose it like that” said Ashley.

“We shouldn’t have let ourselves be in that position going into the last minute. We can take a lot out of the performance considering where we’d come from in terms of improvements on the Ulster match, but we can’t be satisfied with that.

“We have to be more disciplined, we need to be more clinical in key areas of the field. You have to get the basics right in order to see home tight matches like this from a winning position.”

With 12 players absent on World Cup duty and a further eight on the injury list, the Ospreys team on Sunday had a youthful look to it. Indeed, seven of the 22 that saw game time were aged 21 or under, with two teenagers in the starting XV for the first time.

However, Ashley was insistent that the Ospreys can’t use that as an excuse, saying:

“When you wear the Ospreys shirt it doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 38, a first capper or you have 100 caps, there is the same expectation on your shoulders.

“As a group, we know that we have to learn quickly. It was good to see that there have been improvements, and it was good to see people like Owen Watkin and Sam Underhill, both still teenagers and very raw, putting in such impressive debuts.

“The rest of us around them have to take some of the weight though. Young squad or not, there was enough experience in the 23. We won’t hide behind 12 players on World Cup duty or injuries, we expect to miss players over the season and we all have a role to play if we are going to be successful.”