Tandy excited about future of the Ospreys

Despite watching his charges bow out of the RaboDirect PRO12 title chase after a defeat in Dublin on Friday night, Head Coach Steve Tandy has insisted that the future for the region is a positive one

Defeat for the Scarlets at home to Treviso had opened the door to the play-offs ajar for the Ospreys but a performance of endeavour, effort and endurance wasn't enough as Leinster gained a measure of revenge for the two home defeats inflicted on them by the Ospreys in the play-off finals in recent season, to ensure the region's campaign won't go into overtime.

Reflecting on the performance, and the season in general, Tandy remained upbeat, stressing that the youngster who have stepped into the breach this season will help to drive the Ospreys forward in the coming seasons.

"I'm disappointed that we've not managed to make the play-offs, especially after Treviso did a job over the Scarlets"said Tandy.

"I spoke before the game about not wanting to throw the towel in then going into the changing room and discovering the Scarlets had lost.

"That wasn't the case tonight, we gave absolutely everything and showed more of what we are about. I'm proud of the effort and the attitude that we've shown out there. That reflected who and what we are, but unfortunately it wasn't enough in the end.

"It's just one of those nights. It's been one of those seasons, definitely. The bounce of the ball at crucial times didn't go our way and we're left looking at a scoreboard that doesn't really reflect the way the game went, I don't think, but all credit to Leinster, they showed what a quality team they are.

"Considering the injuries we've had and the potential distractions with Lions and Wales tours on people's minds, I think some of the performances out there were excellent.

"We were fully aware of what was happening elsewhere and didn't panic when we went behind early on as we had belief in this group. What killed us eventually was having worked hard to get back into the game, to get within two points of the opposition again, was giving away a cheap penalty right before half-time that dropped us in it, allowed them to go in with a bit of a lead, and then a cheap try straight after the restart. That was a real blow, having to come back once again.

"You look at that first try, it's all about the bounce of a ball. If it goes another way the danger is gone. It's the same with the third try at the start of the second half, it's a similar outcome.

"Heads could've dropped but they never gave up. We've seen other teams come here and fold, we've come here with what is generally a very young group and that's something that is a real positive for Ospreys Rugby looking to the future.

"We deserved a hell of a lot more but when you turn the ball over against a good team like Leinster you find yourself beneath the posts. It's a genuine learning experience for some of these youngsters who have found out a lot about themselves and they'll take real belief from the experiences they've had this season as they've discovered they can be competitive against the best teams in Europe. Next season they are another year older and wiser and it's exciting to see what they could possibly achieve.

"I'm obviously disappointed with some of the tries, but I can't be disappointed with the performance overall. Some of the rugby we played, the effort, was sensational. It's a young group but they've shown throughout the season that we've got a bright future regardless of how disappointed we are tonight to not make the play-offs.

"We probably deserved a bit more tonight and that's probably the case for the season as well, but we've just got to put that behind us. If you look back to last year, at the end of the season there was a huge turnover of players here but I think we've settled as a group over the course of the last 12 months.

"We've learnt a lot more about the group and players like Baldwin, Bevington, Joe Rees, Peers, King, Lewis, Ben John, Habberfield, they've all experienced Heineken Cup rugby and not looked out of place. We're in a pretty exciting place, we really are, and the future looks very bright.

"Throw in a strong core of Lions and Wales boys and that's a good mix. We aren't going to dwell on the disappointment but I've told the group in the changing room to remember this feeling. We were here 12 months ago and we felt the other side of rugby but tonight is painful for them and I want them to use this feeling as a motivator for next season.

"There's a big summer for a lot of the boys internationally, but we need to come back refreshed and we need to make a positive statement in the opening weeks of next season. Ultimately, it wasn't tonight that cost us, it was the first three weeks of the season where we lost three on the bounce, two at home to teams that finished above us. We have to make sure we don't do that next season as it left us with a mountain to climb and ultimately that mountain was just to steep.

"We've enjoyed fantastic support this season, crowds have been up at the Liberty and the fans who were here today made their presence felt again. The boys really appreciate that, knowing that supporters appreciate their efforts and believe in them. I think the fans can see what we are trying to do, can see what we are up against, and appreciate the effort of this young group. We need them to stick with us for next season, it's important that they renew their season tickets and are with us in the same way next season if we are going to kick on from where we are today."