The Ospreys bagged a very welcome bonus point win over play-off rivals Glasgow on Friday, their first success in the Scottish city for seven years, and it was an outcome that pleased Steve Tandy.
After a nip and tuck first half that ended with the Ospreys holding a narrow five point lead courtesy of a Tom Habberfield try, the region cut loose following the break, aided by a numerical advantage following a Glasgow red card.
Further tries from Tom O’Flaherty, Dan Baker and Ashley Beck secured a maximum return for the Ospreys, and Tandy was clear about the importance of the win to a team missing 18 players in total.
“It’s a huge win for us” he said.
“The bonus point is a great outcome. The boys responded and it’s really pleasing. It’s been a tough week for us. The same as Glasgow, we’ve had a lot of boys away in camp, but we’ve had a lot of illness this week. There are a few boys who’ve not trained all week but have turned up and put in a performance tonight in difficult conditions. They’ve responded well, the way they delivered a performance out there tonight. It says a lot about the group.”
Tandy pinpointed the set piece as a key area of the game for the Ospreys, as well as a resolute defence that restricted Glasgow to late score with 90 seconds left on the clock.
“Out set piece was good” he continued.
“I thought the line out was excellent, the work that Rory did, and our scrum went well.
“We took our only real opportunity, at the end of the first half, but our defence had been pretty solid and I thought we were decent value for the lead at the break even if it had been pretty tight.
“I’m not going to comment on the red card but, as far as we were concerned, it was same as, nothing changed for us. We kept doing what we had to do, we worked them to create space and when we had field position we made those opportunities count.”
Edinburgh visit the Liberty Stadium next Friday night and the Ospreys will be boosted by the return of the nine players absent this week on international duty, providing more options to the coaches at the start of a busy December.
Reflecting on the difficult selection choices he faces this week, Tandy highlighted that unlike recent seasons they are coming back into a group that has performed admirably in their absence:
“There have been years when the Welsh boys have come back to us and they’ve had to pick us up because there has been a lot of losses in these windows.
“We lost to Munster, yes, but we had a bonus point win against the Dragons and a bonus point win here, away to Glasgow, which is a huge result for us.
“All in all, that’s a pretty good return from the three PRO12 games we’ve been without the internationals and, yes, they’ll re-energise us coming back but I think they’ll also get a bit of a lift seeing what we’ve done while they’ve been away.
“We are in a reasonable position in the league for this time of year and the challenge to everybody now is to not let it go to waste. What we’ve done so far this season is pleasing but it’s just the start, we have a long way to go yet.
“Looking back to last season, we had a pretty tricky start during the World Cup but it’s key to where we are today. Sam Underhill, Olly Cracknell, Dan Baker, Sam Davies, they all had valuable experiences and ups and downs that they’ve learned from. You look at Rory Thornton, the way he’s led the lineout tonight. These are still young men but they are learning fast.
“Then you look at the 10 position, losing two players to Wales and Josh stepping in, Kieron making his debut as well, but we put in a good performance. We showed a hell of a lot of character tonight as well and, as a coach, that’s pleasing.”