Alun Wyn Jones insisted he was proud of the way the Ospreys took the game to Leinster in Friday night's final PRO12 game of the season.
They went into the game being written off, with the Scarlets in the driving seat in fourth spot and holding a four point advantage as they kicked off at home to Benetton Treviso, and although the Italians did the Ospreys a huge favour with a thumping victory in west Wales, the Ospreys were unable to take advantage by winning themselves.
Speaking after the game, Alun Wyn said:
"There was a lot said about us having an impossible mission out here, coming to a top side and needing to win and with the Scarlets supposedly having an easy game at home to Treviso that they were apparently going to win easily
"Before the game I told the boys not to give up and they certainly showed the attitude I wanted. First half, I thought it was harsh on us to go two tries behind. In territory I think we were superior to Leinster at that point, but as we saw that counts for nothing on the scoreboard.
"We showed plenty of endeavour and commitment to come back from there but I think that try at the start of the second half was a real kick in the teeth for us and took the game away from us. All credit to our boys though they kept going, they raised the tempo of the game, but when you are playing it quicker you've got to win your rucks, the race to the contact area, particularly against such a quality team, and that's where maybe the game was lost in the end. We had plenty of intent but we couldn't secure our own rucks and that sometimes happens when you are playing such a quick game.
"The scoreboard wasn't a true reflection of how the game went, but we can't have any complaints because Leinster are a quality side who did a job on us. We're all hurting at the moment but that's rugby. It's not just about the ups, you have to live with the downs as well.
"We've won this competition four times before but we've never managed a staunch defence of the title. That was what we wanted to do this year but we've missed out on the play-offs so of course we are disappointed.
"There are people in this organisation, on and off the field, who have put an awful lot of effort in all season. We didn't get the win today but I think we put in a performance that people can be proud of. We want to send out a message that we are doing this for other people, it's not about ourselves. Hopefully people watching here and back at home will recognise that we didn't just accept our fate, we gave it everything but unfortunately we didn't have enough to finish the job."