Steve Tandy has urged his Ospreys players to “get the ball rolling against the Dragons next Friday” after watching them put in an heroic shift against double European champs Saracens on Saturday.
In an incredible the Ospreys went toe-to-toe with the English giants, becoming the first visiting team to ever score four tries in a European game at Allianz Park, debutant Sam Cross scoring the late try that secured two bonus points.
Speaking at the post-match press conference shortly after the final whistle, it was clear how proud Tandy was of the shift his team had put in, in the face of real adversity.
“There’s massive sense of pride in and around the performance” he said.
“We got so close but we probably coughed up one or two scores where we could have helped ourselves.
"It would be easy to pick the bones out of the little bits and pieces we could have done better, but all in all, huge pride but disappointment we haven't done something remarkable and really special. For all intents and purposes, it's an unbelievable effort from the guys.
"When you look at it, perceived better teams have come here and got swamped. They put an unbelievable shift in and blew Northampton away last week. We’ve played pretty well last week but got dinged up pretty badly. Scott Otten, Dan Baker, Cracknell, Webb, then Lydiate and Tipuric pulling out and Sam Cross and Guy Mercer coming in and doing unbelievable jobs.
“We’ve ended up with Gareth Thomas in the back row, Sam Cross on the wing. At the end of the day it is a results business but it is special for me to be here in charge of a team that puts a shift in like it did today, to be able to look back on a game where there’s a little bit of disappointment in coming to Saracens with not everything going your way. The way the group fought was sensational.
“I’ve got to pay testament to the way the skipper has led the group throughout the working week. There hasn’t been any fear, it’s been about being positive, coming here and building on last week, building on some of the performance against the Scarlets.
“It was focusing on us and how we shift the ball. We knew that Saracens were going to come after us, their line speed is phenomenal and they’ve got some big hitters. We wanted to trust ourselves, not just come here and kick the ball away an awful lot, we wanted to be bold and positive. I think that shook them a little bit.
“We would have liked to have been a bit further ahead, we made life difficult for ourselves just before half-time. Then when we got back to 29-27 we felt the game was on but unfortunately that was the second sloppy try we conceded in the game. Fair play to them, we came back again and Sammy picked up a try out on the wing that he’ll remember.”
Tandy insisted that it wasn’t a case of the team having to turn their season around after this one, more that they continue the improvements they’ve shown in recent weeks when they welcome the Dragons to the Liberty on Friday.
“I don’t think anyone is talking about turning it around. I don’t think we’ve played badly over the last three games. We’ve played Clermont and Saracens, and I know they are losses ,but in fairness with the resource we’ve got they’ve come out and played pretty well. I thought we were pretty unlucky against the Scarlets as well.
“I don’t think it’s a team that lacks confidence but it’s important now that we recover, we’ve got a few beaten bodies, and we’ve got to pick it up and get the ball rolling against the Dragons next Friday.”