Steve Tandy has described Saturday night’s bonus point victory in Galway as “pretty special” but has warned his players not to get carried away on the back of their early season form.
Four tries at the Sportsground, three in the final 10 minutes, made it 10 points from two games, with 12 tries and 91 points scored, with just two tries and 16 points conceded, and the region sit at the top of the early season Guinness PRO12 table.
A performance packed with character and effort, and a tremendous defensive showing, was enough to bring just a slight smile to Tandy’s face as he reflected on the game after the final whistle.
“It was a huge effort” was his instant reaction.
“To get a bonus point win, away from home against the champions, it’s pretty special. We have to be pleased with how it went. The boys dug in tonight.
“It is a good start for us. It was a good training week coming into this. Even the boys not involved on the night are contributing to the effort and this is a really good result for the whole squad, not just the team that represented the Ospreys tonight.
“We knew that coming here we would be in for a tough evening and you look at it, 60, 70 minutes in, it’s pretty close, there’s nothing in it. I thought we ground it out and then, once we got that 14 point lead, we had the positivity to go for that bonus point try.
“"It's a huge win for us, a squad effort, not just the boys here tonight. It's been a great training week and everybody has played their part."
When the hosts edged in front for the first time in the contest on the hour mark, not many at the Sportsground on Saturday night would have predicted the final flurry of tries that not only killed off Connacht but secured that crucial bonus point. Tandy was full of praise for the character of the squad and how they responded under pressure.
“It was a good response” he said.
“We would have liked to have had a few more points on the board in the first half after the chances we created in the first quarter but it didn’t happen.
“Connacht battled hard and that last five or six minutes of the first half, our defence was spot on, keeping them at bay. You know a champion team like Connacht will always come at you, they will have their moments, but the result tonight was built on our defence. We were really positive in our work and for large periods of the game, either side of half time when Connacht pressed, I thought we were in control, keeping them at arms length despite all that possession and territory.
“We didn’t panic when they went into the lead, we knew what we had to do and kept going. The boys coming off the bench picked it up, they didn’t allow things to drop off, and that allowed us to put in a full 80-minute performance.
“It is only two games in, we have to remember that. We’ve got to back it up now. We’ve got Treviso next week and they’ve been really difficult opponents for Ulster and Leinster these first two games so we know we will have to be spot on.
“We’ll refocus now for that one. We know that it’s only two games into a 22 game season. It’s a pleasing start but, ultimately, nothing is won after the first two games.”
Front and centre in Tandy’s post-match thoughts was the need to continue striving for improvements as he highlighted that despite their position after two fixtures, improvements remain necessary. He concluded:
“It would be easy to get carried away with two bonus point wins but the reality is, we’ve been far from perfect in both games. That’s a good position to be in, when you’ve got everything you could have wanted from the games but still have plenty of work ons.
“For all the good tonight, we were sloppy in attack at times, particularly during the first half. We’ll keep striving to be the best we can be, we know we have a lot of work to do, and with the run of games we’ve got coming up, we’re also well aware that if we don’t improve where we need to then we could be in for a bit of a shock and come crashing back to earth if we allow ourselves to get carried away with a couple of wins.”