Steve Tandy hailed his players after watching them secure a maximum five point haul in Italy on Sunday, calling it “a really impressive performance”.
- "One of my most satisfying afternoon’s as Ospreys coach" says Tandy after the win in Parma
- Praise for skipper for the day Tipuric who "led from the front" while his back row partner Cracknell's performance described as "outstanding"
- A word of caution sounded ahead of big clashes against Bordeaux and the Scarlets over the next few weeks - "We aren’t good enough to take anything for granted, we have to keep working hard to be the best we can be every game.”
Skipper Justin Tipuric scored two tries in a man of the match performance, one in each half, wingers Jeff Hassler and Eli Walker both crossed in the line in the first half, while Jonathan Spratt also grabbed a second half try to ensure a resounding win at a ground where the Ospreys have previously struggled.
Zebre went into the game looking for a fourth successive home win, with the Blues, Edinburgh and Worcester all defeated in Parma, and with the Ospreys looking to climb the table following a poor start to the season defeat simply wasn’t an option for the visitors today.
“When you reflect on what we’ve done, it’s a really impressive performance” was Tandy’s verdict.
“In the context of everything I’d say it’s one of my most satisfying afternoon’s as Ospreys coach when you consider how difficult we’ve found Zebre here over the last couple of years. We’ve come here fully loaded and lost a must-win game, and only just scraped through last year, so hats off to the boys for how they delivered today.
“You had people making their debuts, young Olly starting in the PRO12 for the first time, Ma’afu coming off the bench, and we’ve been able to rest a few key guys up. We’ve had an indifferent week with some boys pulling out for one reason or another but in fairness to the group they’ve been really detailed in what they’ve done. It was a real test of character to come here, we’ve rested and rotated the squad, shown trust in those boys, and it paid off. I thought it was an impressive performance.”
Having fallen behind to an early interception try Tandy said he was pleased to see the team sticking to the task in hand and not deviating from the gameplan – and duly getting the reward for their discipline and effort. He continued:
“I thought we were pretty unlucky to go 7-0 down. I thought we played all the rugby and, probably, the points that Zebre took off us in the first half was a little bit down to our own doing. In fairness, we didn’t come away from what we wanted to be and the speed we wanted to play at, some of the attacking rugby we played was really positive. I thought it was a real good show from us and we are delighted to come away with five points.
“We’re building a little bit of momentum, which is nice, and there’s a tough period coming up. We had a good win over the Blues last week, even if it wasn’t pretty, some guys have had a bit of rest, we’ve freshened up a few this week and brought some guys in who deserved to have some minutes. We’ve backed ourselves and we’ve come through.
“In fairness, Big Al is desperate to get on, Biggs has been great this week. With the competitions we’re in there’s not a lot of rest time and these boys played a huge part in the World Cup so it’s about trying to look after them the best we can.
“In fairness to those two, the way they’ve been around the team, it’s important for some of the youbg guys to see how they present themselves, how they still do their detail even being on the bench. They are there ready to be called upon if needed and it’s a lesson to everybody.
“Ultimately though, it was great today to see Sam Davies and Habbers’ really stepping up to the plate, I thought for Olly Cracknell, making his full debut, to put in the performance he did, it’s pretty outstanding.”
Tandy also had high praise for Tipuric after a stunning performance from the captain for the day.
“I thought he led from the front” said Tandy.
“He doesn’t say an awful lot but he does lead with the way he plays the game. He’s been great throughout the week. He’s pretty understated in terms of speaking but when he does speak people listen. And, when he plays like that, he’s pretty much unplayable.
There’ll be no resting on any laurels at the Ospreys though as a busy period of fixtures continues with back to back European ties against Bordeaux before a mouthwatering Welsh derby at Parc y Scarlets, and Tandy issued a cautionary note, saying:
“It’s about recovery now and getting ready for the next challenge, then the one after that, and then the one after that. We can’t look any further ahead than the next game.
“There’s a big period of games to come that can shape our season. We’ve got Bordeaux at the Liberty in six days time, and we’ve put ourselves in good shape in that competition so it’s important that we keep striving to get better every game.
“We know that we are behind the eight ball in the PRO12 because of the start we made to the season but you’ve scene over the last six weeks that this group has spirit and it has belief in what we are trying to do. There’s still an awful amount of work ahead for us, we still have to go up several notches when you look at the games coming up, but we are heading in the right direction. We aren’t good enough to take anything for granted though, we have to keep working hard to be the best we can be every game.”
Next up for the Ospreys is the first leg of the European Rugby Champions Cup double header against Bordeaux Begles, at the Liberty Stadium next Saturday at 5.15pm.
Tickets for that game are on sale now, starting from just £20 for adults or, alternatively, why not sign up for a Flexi Ticket and watch four games for the price of three in standard seating?
All regular PRO12 and ERCC games are included as options, meaning you can choose from European games against Bordeaux Begles and Clermont Auvergne, Welsh derbies, against the Dragons and Scarlets, or big PRO12 clashes against Ulster and Leinster – or any other home PRO12 game – you decide!
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