Ospreys Head Coach Steve Tandy weighed up the good and the bad about his side’s Judgement Day performance against the Dragons, declaring there were ‘real positives’ about the way they secured victory.
Tandy’s mixed emotions were clear at the post-match press conference. He was understandably delighted at the attitude shown by his young charges to keep going to the death and not allowing their obvious on-field frustrations get the better of them after failing to take the many chances they created in the first hour. However, he acknowledged that they left a bonus point out there, something which could prove crucial come the end of the season.
Asked by a member of the Welsh media was he satisfied with the win, he responded:
“We are definitely not totally satisfied.
“We did bucketfuls of good in the way we tried but we turned the ball over too many times and left a couple of tries out there after getting the ball over the line, so there is a bit of disappointment in the changing room.
“The effort was outstanding and the amount we tried to play. There are real positives with the team we are trying to build but there is a real disappointing element we did not manage to score four tries. We are not trying to be disrespectful for the Dragons because I thought they defended well.”
Preferring to reflect on the positives from the performance, Tandy added:
“It spoke volumes about our character, I think. Having been totally dominant in all areas but not made it count, to go behind in the second half could have seen heads drop. It’s a young group that we've got, and we were up against a pretty experienced bunch, but I like the way they reacted. That’s a huge positive for me, it showed good character and desire. That’s what you want to see. Clearly they were disappointed but the reaction was a positive one and we got what we deserved in the end.
“Never mind the tries we left out there in the first half, there were more good chances after we’d got back into it in the third quarter. We kept plugging away and got the win. After the Leinster game, this was a different kind of test. What was most important was that we got the win. That is what matters most at this time of the year. There is a lot I can be critical about, and when we review this over the next couple of days we’ll be honest with each other. We always are at the Ospreys. But, let’s look at it positively. We’ve got the win, we are in the hunt still, and we have to regroup now and go from there.”
Despite the win, the Ospreys remain in fifth place, four points behind Glasgow in the fourth and final play-off spot and five behind Ulster. There are numerous permutations to ponder over between now and 10th May, but as Tandy points out, the first thing to focus on is the two wins the Osprey need in the final two rounds, away to Zebre and home to Connacht, then it’s a case of see what happens.
“We just have to win our remaining games” agreed Tandy.
“We missed out on a bonus point against the Dragons but sometimes we get too carried away with that. Look at last year when we had Glasgow and Leinster away in the last two games and everyone told us that we needed to win games with bonus points to have a chance. In the end, just one win, four points, would have been enough.
“It would have put more pressure on teams above us if we’d had a bonus but we now just have to win our last two games. Ulster have Leinster and Munster to play. Leinster can go anywhere in the world and win and that includes going to Ulster. It would be nice to see Ulster have to go to Munster and win on the last day of the season. But we have a big job to do first by winning our two games.”