The Ospreys ran in six tries on their way to a bonus point-win over Northampton on Saturday night but must now focus on next Sunday’s return game at the Liberty Stadium.
On an action packed evening at Franklin’s Gardens the Ospreys were rampant for an hour. Tries from Dan Evans (2), Jeff Hassler (2), Tom Habberfield and Kieron Fonotia saw them race into a 43-8 lead with an hour played, only to see the Saints hit back to give the visitors a real scare in the final quarter, clawing back 24 points as it finished 43-32 to the Ospreys.
Reflecting on the game, and the performance, shortly after the final whistle, Steve Tandy acknowledged that there was plenty to take from the contest, good and bad.
"It got a bit crazy, but for the first hour I thought we were pretty spot-on” he said.
"For the first 60 minutes, I thought we were pretty special, coming away from home against a tough team like Northampton. We silenced the crowd, I thought we controlled the game and we thought the game was dead and buried at 60 minutes, which was where we started to get a little bit loose.
“I thought we were so efficient, the half backs controlled the game really well and I thought that physically we really dominated the first hour.
“After that Northampton got a bit of momentum, the game did get a bit crazy, but ultimately we can enjoy the moment of coming away with a bonus-point win from Franklin’s Gardens which is pretty pleasing for us.
“We'll definitely be tidying up a little bit on the last 20 minutes but we’ll also be focusing on what we did really well, how we controlled territory and then, if we can get our physical boys on the ball, I thought we were pretty smart. We looked like a team that was enjoying themselves tonight which was pleasing.”
Pressed on how important the result was for team morale, Tandy pointed to the team spirit that was evident throughout the game as being key.
"It's huge for the group” agreed Tandy.
"Even though people on the outside question the group and suggest maybe we're split, that changing room is really tight.
"Even though they were bitterly disappointed with recent performances the group stayed tight and you get some senior people back, boys like Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Nicky Smith, they came in and really grasped the initiative, Bradley Davies has been outstanding throughout the working week, and these senior boys have dragged everyone else along with them to show what this team is about.
"It's a pretty happy dressing room and we’ll enjoy the bus trip home but we’ll knuckle down again on Monday morning and look to build on this one. Northampton will be hurting to have conceded 40 at home, we felt that for ourselves a few weeks back, and they’ll want a reaction.
“That’s what these double headers are about. If you are the losing side in the first game you have an opportunity to put it right, if you are the winners then you want to use it as momentum, a platform, and that’s what we’ll have to do.
“It’s just one game, nobody will be getting carried away, but we’ve definitely shown in this pool that we can be competitive.”
Northampton Saints visit the Liberty Stadium on Sunday 17th December, 3.15pm kick-off, and you can buy tickets now at www.ospreysrugby.com/buytickets