Steve Tandy has paid tribute to the squad effort that led the Ospreys to a bonus-point victory against Lyon on Saturday night, the region’s first win in France since Bourgoin were beaten back in 2008.
- Keelan Giles scores his first senior hat-trick while Sam Parry touches down for the bonus point clincher as the Ospreys make it a perfect start to their Challenge Cup campaign
- With 10 points from the first two matches, they now face Grenoble in the December double header, with the away leg up first
- Focus turns back to the PRO12 for next weekend, with a Welsh derby against the Drahons at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday afternoon
After Sam Davies kicked the Ospreys ahead in the ninth minute, the Ospreys were never behind, absorbing huge pressure from a physical Lyon side with ease and stunning them with a series of length of the field scores.
A second maximum five point haul in two Challenge Cup matches following last week’s demolition of Newcastle at the Liberty Stadium has put the Ospreys firmly in control of Pool 2 at this early stage, and Tandy made it clear post-match that it was a win based on a solid defensive platform.
“I’m massively proud of the boys” he said.
“It’s tested the squad to the limit and it’s great for us that the boys have responded. Defensively we were outstanding and then we picked up a few breakaway tries. A bonus point win is huge for us and massive credit has to go to the group for how they battled.
“Defensively we frustrated them, we just kept knocking Lyon back. Our set-piece drive defence was spot on and the forwards have got to take a lot of credit for that. Overall, it’s pleasing.”
While the Ospreys did score four tries, to secure a sixth try bonus point from eight games in all competitions to date this season, Tandy highlighted that the attacking aspect of their game still had room for improvement:
“To be honest, I think some of our attack was a bit patchy and our breakdown work needed to be a bit sharper. We felt when we kept possession for an extended time that they started to feel it, you could see it in their legs but, defensively, we took so much out of them. No matter how they were coming at us we kept knocking them back. I thought we looked pretty comfortable in defence.
“We’re coming to France against a team showing only two changes, I think, from a bonus point win away in Grenoble, and leaving with all five points.
“We’ve focused a hell of a lot on our skills, in particular the guys up front, making sure they are comfortable on the ball. If there’s an opportunity to shift the ball, whether you are under your own posts or in the opposition 22, we’ve got to be comfortable with that.
“As coaches, we won’t be criticising the boys if they back their skills to do something if there is a genuine option on. There’s positivity about the way we want to play.”
Keelan Giles, still only 18, stole the headlines with a man of the match performance, scoring three tries to take his tally to six in just three games, but Tandy urged for caution to ensure he is allowed to continue his development.
“He’s electric” Tandy agreed to a question on Giles’ ability, before highlighting he is still a work in progress.
“Daf on the other wing has been outstanding as well. It’s really pleasing for us to have young guys stepping up but it’s a case of just making sure we don’t get ahead of ourselves with Keelan. He’s a young kid, he’s professional, and I know that group in there won’t leave him get too far ahead of himself, but it’s about making sure he can do it consistently, week in, week out.”
With the Ospreys in a good position in the Challenge Cup, Tandy stressed the need to take that momentum back into the PRO12 with the Dragons visiting the Liberty Stadium for a Welsh derby next Saturday afternoon.
“It’s making sure we enjoy this moment.
“We’ve put ourselves in a pretty good position. We want to win as many games as we can in every tournament we are in. Some people thought we were throwing the towel in with the squad we came out here with, but we trust our squad. It’s something we are pretty proud of, the squad is in a decent place and we want to keep building momentum.”
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