Smith excited about B&I fixtures

The Ospreys Premiership Select are back in action this weekend when they take on Bedford Blues at the Talbot Athletic Ground on Friday night when the British and Irish Cup continues (7.30pm KO).

The last time these two sides met in the competition, back in October at Goldington Road, the Ospreys took an early lead after from Joe Thomas and Dafydd Howells in the opening quarter.

Despite their defensive efforts, Bedford edged ahead at the half time whistle, scoring a try to go 17-12 ahead before a dominant performance in the second half saw the hosts claim a 43-19 win, Jay Baker with his team’s third try.

Heading into the final rounds of action, head coach Tom Smith said:

“We were looking to build on the performances in the first two rounds against Munster and Bedford. In both games we put in really good first half performances, then some of our mistakes allowed the opposition to pull away from us. From our perspective, if we worked on those errors in our own game it gives us a better chance of putting in a better performance.”

In their last outing, against Nottingham at the Gnoll In December, another strong first half performance from the Ospreys saw them lead 10-8 at the interval, Luke Price blitzing over the whitewash and slotting a conversion and penalty. However, Nottingham were able to capitalise on Ospreys mistakes after the break and, despite teenage scrum half Harri Morgan’s first try for the Premiership Select giving them the lead late on, a late penalty saw Nottingham stealing victory at the death.

Reflecting on that game, Smith said:  "From the first half performance we definitely deserved more, we had a positive halftime, we wanted to do more of the same in the second half and up the ante a little bit but we came out and had the complete opposite half to the first. We definitely let it slip and maybe deserved what we got from that second half performance because we ended up just killing ourselves.

“We're frustrated because the performance is there, we just have to put it on the field for the full 80 minutes. This young group, we said in the changing room at the end of the game, you learn more from losing than winning. But you have to learn from it, you can't just keep making the same errors time after time and that's what we seem to be doing at the moment. It's the same sort of story as our first two games, and this group of boys have to learn at some point, we can't keep making mistakes and putting ourselves in positions that let teams back in the game."

Looking ahead to the return visit of Bedford Blues, Smith said:

“Even though we’re starting to build our game during training, we still need to put in a strong performance for the full 80 minutes. We’re looking to turn on our attack and get over the line, get our efforts reflected on the scoreboard. Again we’ll be looking to replicate the first half performance that we had up in Bedford the last time out and finish it off this time around in the second. Hopefully this time around we’ll have the home advantage in Aberavon and the boys will be able to put in a strong, full 80 minute performance.”

Admission to the Talbot Athletic Ground on Friday night is free for U16s, with adults paying £10, concessions £8.