We welcome the Dragons to the Morganstone Brewery Field, this evening, as we hit the road and demonstrate our commitment to our region.
Toby Booth match day introduction: Dragons
Bridgend is another part of the Ospreys region and this is an opportunity to show who we are, how diverse we are and how all encompassing we are. It represents what we are and we embrace it as we always do.
We have players from Bridgend, and that diversity is there for everyone to see.
Playing without crowds is the new normal. It is different and something we have had to adapt to, and it’s disappointing that we couldn’t reach out to the Ospreys fans in the area.
Home field advantage is always important, so there is a balance to be struck, but with what we are all experiencing at the moment that is not a major factor now.
For the team, it’s another challenge to prove we are resilient and robust enough to play wherever we are. That is what successful teams do. Being on the road is part of what we do, and if you win on the road, it means you are a successful team.
We have played the Dragons already during this campaign and we are very mindful of the challenge ahead, particularly in the international window, which is a challenge from a selection point of view with players unavailable.
Teams aren’t what they normally would be but the Dragons are coming to us after a disappointing result and any team in that position always produces a reaction and that is what we are expecting.
We know Dean Ryan and the Dragons coaching staff well and they are very driven people and quality coaches, representing a quality organisation and we are expecting a real challenge.
The Ospreys are on a journey and we have seen a lot of positives in outcomes and performances. We were all very disappointed with our performance against Zebre but we got the result. With Ulster, it was the opposite, we were really pleased with the performance but really disappointed with the result
But the Ulster game was an opportunity to benchmark ourselves against one of the top teams in the competition, in an international window, when we are depleted as a squad.
It gave the players available an opportunity to step up and show what they can offer and we were delighted with the performance, especially of the youngsters, and we looked like a side making progress. We proved we are a robust side out in Belfast.
When you are trying to map out the journey of a team across a period of time, you want to know the foundations are strong because it shows you are building a clear identity as a team.
We want to play an attacking brand of rugby but there are clear components that keep you in the contest every time you play. The work ethic and determination we are showing repeatedly is there for all to see and shows we are making progress.
While we are building our team identity the performances are not always going to be perfect but that is all part of the process and the journey the Ospreys are on. The effort and determination we are displaying are becoming consistent elements of our identity.
Those qualities are two massive fundamental blocks for any team that wants to improve and push to be in the race at the right end of the table.
Throughout my coaching career the emphasis on giving young players an opportunity has been a consistent. Why? Because I believe in it and young players bring insatiable energy that is infectious and gives a team an emotional drive, and when you add world-class players, it is a potent mix .
There is, if you like, a method to the madness. The fact so many of the younger players have performed so consistently well is exciting for everyone outside the Ospreys but it’s not a surprise to me because I see it on a daily basis in training.
The team thank you for your continued support.