Steve Tandy admitted to a feeling of pride at watching his team deliver a much-improved second half showing against the Blues to book a play-off spot but it wasn’t all pats on the back for the Ospreys
With a rare smile on his face, the region’s head coach reflected on a bonus point win that meant that the Ospreys have now ensured a top four finish, but he was quick to highlight that if they repeat their sluggish start in the fixtures to come then it could be game over before it’s even started.
Speaking to the press deep inside the Millennium Stadium, Tandy acknowledged that it was an achievement to be proud of before calling on his players to move up another level for the visit of high-flying Glasgow to the Liberty in two weeks time.
“It’s great for the group” said Tandy.
“With two games to spare, it’s a real achievement, but we’re not satisfied with just this, we’ve got to keep going.
“We’ve got to tidy up a hell of a lot after that performance, in particular the first half. Would be able to claw that back against the likes of Glasgow? Ultimately, I think it was 15 turnovers in the first half. You’re not going to get field position like that.
“We made it easy for the Blues and they came after us. They put pressure on us, we made a couple of fumbles, and like I said we had 15 turnovers. We cut that down to five in the second half and it allowed us to get a stranglehold on the game.
“When we do get into our rhythm, do the basics pretty well, then we scored some outstanding tries. Even then, there are things we need to tidy up around. We score a try and then end up back on our 5m line. It’s about attention to detail. That’s something we harp on about a lot, but we take pride in it, all the work we do throughout the week, and there were a couple of things there that weren’t spot on, particularly in the first half.”
A Dan Evans try just before the break got the scoreboard moving for the Ospreys and a much improved second half showing saw them secure the bonus point.
Tandy paid credit to the attitude and character from his charges:
“I think the boys showed great character. It wasn’t panic stations at half time. We spoke about how it wasn’t going to take a hell of a lot to change the outcomes, and in fairness we got our heads down and didn’t turn as many balls over as we did in the first.
“We’ve got Glasgow home next and that’ll be a real good test for us. They had a really good win again today, so it’s about making sure that we perform a bit better. We’ll recover over the next few days and then get set for hopefully a long run-in.”
Asked if he felt the Ospreys were peaking at the right time, Tandy was quick to play down the suggestion, insisting there was a lot of room for improvement from his team
“I wouldn’t call it peaking if I’m honest” he said.
“It’s really positive around a bonus point win but we know that we’re going to have to be better against Glasgow and then Connacht away. The Blues really had a pop at us so we’re going to have to look at ourselves.
“We’ve spoken about it after the game and, yes, there were some real high end moments but there were some scruffy things as well. It’s about looking after the ball. We didn’t deal with a few aerial bombs, which was disappointing for us, and all of a sudden the Blues have another chance to harass us and in fairness to them they did try and play when they had the ball.
“We should be happy and enjoy the moment though. That group in there, as coaches and players, as one, we want to do better. We don’t want to be going out in the semi-final stage, we want to go to Belfast for the final.
“There was a lot said about us, spoken about our young kids and things but Champions Cup was ticked off early and now the play-offs is a real positive within the group, which I'm really pleased and proud of.
“There’s been a lot of tries scored today, a good atmosphere with over 50,000 people here. It’s been a good advert and hopefully the people who’ve come to watch, will maybe come down to the Liberty in two weeks to watch what is a huge fixture for us. “
With just four points separating the top four in the PRO12, and just two games to go, the Ospreys welcome leaders Glasgow to the Liberty Stadium for what promises to be an absolutely huge game on Friday 8th May (7.35pm KO). Tickets are available to buy now at www.ospreysrugby.com/buytickets priced from just £20 for adults.
If you were at Judgement Day III on Saturday then don’t throw away your ticket as we will shortly be announcing a special ticket deal for anyone who attended the Millennium Stadium supporting the cause against the Blues.