After watching his young charges fall to defeat against Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park on Saturday evening, Acting Head Coach Steve Tandy said that it would prove to be a valuable learning experience for all concerned.
Speaking to the press late into the night, Tandy gave his reaction to the loss, saying:
“Obviously I’m disappointed with the scoreboard. I feel that the set-piece let us down, and we weren’t clinical enough, especially in the second half. I do think that there are a lot of positives we can take out of the night though, we brought a young group down here against a team that we always knew would present a very tough challenge.
“Exeter are a forward oriented team, they come really hard at you at the set-piece and the breakdown, and the boys certainly know they’ve been in a battle.
“Like I said, there were a lot of positives we can take out of it. Boys like Ben John and Eli Walker, who have stepped up from the Premiership showed up, James King did well and I thought Tom Smith led from the front. What we saw tonight was that there is a big gulf, a big step up from the Premiership to LV= Cup level, and that maybe that gulf isn’t so big for the players involved in the A League in England.
“There were a lot of young boys out there, six or seven debuts, which is good for the future of the Ospreys, but it meant that we found the going tough at times. Because of the experience they’ve had tonight they know now exactly what it takes to be an Ospreys player. Some of the boys tonight would never have experienced that kind of intensity before but they’ll learn from it.
“We’re always disappointed to concede any tries, never mind four like we did tonight. The penalty try was particularly disappointing, the set-piece is something we particularly pride ourselves on but in fairness to Exeter they turned the screw in that area against a young group of boys. They’ve got to learn somewhere and there’s no better place to learn than here.
“I did feel that we looked threatening at times, when we were able to work the ball through the backs, the first half in particular. You look back at it, Eli broke through early on and if he’s scored then it could have been a different game, They were able to get back and stop him, and minutes later they are up our end and they’ve scored. That’s possibly a 14-point turnaround.
“We got very disjointed in the second half. Exeter attacked our tackle area and did a good job there. It stopped us getting any speed of ball, which meant it was a very tough day at the office. But, it’s great experience, for me and for the young players. We’ll review this now and see where we need to improve before next weekend.”