Team effort driving Ospreys

Tyler Ardron picked up the man of the match award at the weekend after another influential shift at the Liberty Stadium, but the big Canadian refused to accept any personal plaudits.

The 23-year old from Lakefield, Ontario, continues to grow in stature following his move to full time professional rugby in Wales less than two years ago, with his consistency proving a vital ingredient of the Ospreys mix, wherever in the pack he is employed.

In the absence of three senior locks injured and with Wales’ Alun Wyn Jones a spectator in the West Stand on Saturday, the Canadian national captain put in another all-action show that saw him presented with the official Guinness man of the match gong at the final whistle following his sides win over Munster. In his typically modest manner though, he deflected personal praise on to his colleagues after the game.

“I’d guess it would have been tough to pick out one player from that team performance as we had plenty of boys out there putting in a huge physical effort right across the park” was his verdict.

“We focused on specific areas for this game, particularly around the set-piece, and the whole squad put in a huge shift. I’m honoured with the selection but I won’t get carried away as it was a real team effort to get this win.”

Asked if he could pinpoint the key reasons for the improved performance and victory, his answer was unequivocal:

“It’s probably the worst kept secret in the world but it’s physicality, that’s what we spoke about all week and that’s what we delivered. We knew that Munster would come here as a big and powerful unit and we didn’t just have to match them, we had to outdo them.

"With the focus on getting our own roles right and ensuring we were clinical, I think we had the edge from the first minute and earned that win the hard way, through a lot of effort and work, not just today but throughout the week in preparation.

“We’ve been disappointed with the way we performed in the last few games but that’s in the past. There’s nothing you can do about that, but plenty we could do to ensure we performed in this game, and keep performing between now and the end of the season.”

The final five game run-in to a potential place in the play-offs gets underway at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday 28th March when the Ospreys welcome Zebre for a 7.15pm kick-off and Ardron believes that the momentum from this win plus returning players could be a potent mix:

“It’s good to have some momentum going forward and we’ll have the added experience and quality of the Wales boys coming back into the group before the next game, which will give us another boost for a critical time.

“Plenty of boys have stepped up this season and impressed, and with a few boys starting to come back this week like Nicky Smith and Lloyd Peers, we are looking to have a bit of depth back which is great. That’ll really help us with the tough games coming up and no matter who the coaches go with next game we know that we’ve got boys who can perform to the level required.

“It’s easy to talk about the Zebre game next up but we can’t just talk, or just stay where we are in terms of performance, we’ve got to improve again. If we can do that, we’ll be going in the right direction.”