Steve Tandy has told his players that they need to learn from their experiences over the last week and be more clinical and ruthless in what they do.
Tandy watched on from the stand as the Ospreys went down to a second defeat in a week as they wrapped up their pre-season preparations against Saracens at the HAC in London.
Despite admitting to disappointment at a lopsided scoreboard, Tandy said that there was plenty he would take from the game as the build up to the new PRO12 campaign gets underway, as he urged the team to pick up the pieces from the two losses.
“Once again, I’m pretty disappointed with the scoreboard” he said.
“Yes, we were up against top drawer opposition but we’ve got to learn from the experiences of the last week.
“We gave away some pretty cheap penalties, in areas where we don’t need to, and that conceded field position. That makes life unnecessarily difficult for ourselves. Giving cheap penalties away either side of halfway invites teams into our 22 without them having to work for it and I think that was they key tonight.
“We allowed the opposition into areas where they could hurt us without having to work hard for territory, when maybe with a bit more discipline we would have been the ones going forward. Then, when we do manage to work ourselves into a good position, create opportunities, we have to take them.
“You look at Saracens out there, when they got in those positions they were clinical, while we weren’t, and they punished us for that. Playing a team of their quality can be a harsh lesson if you don’t get it right and at times that was the case this evening.
“We have to be a little bit sharper and more ruthless in what we do. It’s a harsh fact of life that as a young group you have to go through these experiences, and what matters is that you learn from them to allow you to grow and develop.
“We got into their 22 enough times and we created a few opportunities. Webby was a yard short and we concede a penalty, Jeff was there or thereabouts a couple of times, but we weren’t able to finish them off for whatever reasons. The only time we showed the maturity to do that was at the start of the second half when Tyler finished off what was a very good team move, but we didn’t show that kind of patience and ruthlessness often enough for my liking.
“Saracens didn’t do anything that we wouldn’t have expected. They put the ball behind us and squeezed us, and that was effective for them. We were guilty of overdoing it if anything. In the middle third of the match we overplayed it, and against a team with the defensive qualities of Saracens you’ll struggle if you don’t have the speed of thought to get done what you need to do.
“It’s disappointing in terms of what we know we can do, but it was a great experience for boys like Nicky Smith, Baker, we got Eli back out on the pitch, there were first hit-outs for a number of international boys to shake the rustiness off and I think Matavesi showed again what he is capable of so there are plenty of positives ahead of the new season.
“We know there’s a bit of work to do before we play Treviso. There was a lot of good stuff but we know that we have to be a hell of a lot more consistent in what we do over the 80 minutes. You can’t play really well for 10 minutes, defend well for 10 minutes, and then drop your standards in between, you have to play for the 80.
“There were one or two soft tries, particularly in the middle third of the game, which was where it was lost. Up to half an hour there was nothing in it and we were doing really well, but some sloppiness allowed them to put a gap between us and them. Even though we got the first points of the second half, to allow them to hit straight back was poor and we have to be better than that.
“As the game went on they changed their entire team and were able to bring on some real quality and I think that told in the dying minutes, but we kept going and didn’t roll over.
“It’s two defeats in pre-season and I understand that people will be disappointed, we all feel the same as we never want to lose any game. Saying that, nothing is won during August and people have to keep that in mind. There’s been a lot of hard work over the last 10 weeks and now with two to go until Treviso there has to be more specific focus on that game. It’ll be two more weeks of hard work, with a view to hitting the ground running in the PRO12.”