We welcome Ulster to the Swansea.com Stadium, this afternoon, knowing we will be facing a very buoyant side after a first away win in Dublin since 2013 and that we have to show the resilience we pride ourselves on.
Ulster showed what a good side they are by ending Leinster’s unbeaten start to the United Rugby Championship last weekend.
As we all know, the Irish provinces are the benchmark when it comes to consistency of performance in the URC. Ulster come here on the back of an impressive 20-10 victory in Dublin.
We know we will have to be much better than we were last weekend against a Connacht side that will be there or thereabouts come the URC play-offs.
Andy Friend, the Connacht coach, said it was a good toss to win because of the poor conditions out in Galway, but the poor conditions were for both sides and they handled them much better than we did.
Galway is a unique experience, with gale force winds, torrential rain and freezing conditions all playing their part during Friday’s encounter. It was another valuable part of this team’s learning.
Andy said it was a critical toss for Connacht to win, and he should know because his side plays there all the time, but we are not interested in the weather, the referee or whatever - it’s ultimately all about what we do.
We have to control what we can control.
The players were very excited and emotionally ready ahead of the Connacht game and looking forward to getting back to doing what they love to do. There is no doubt that we got caught with a sucker punch and it took too long to register what had happened and to recover our focus.
We didn’t do enough, our basics didn’t stand up and we were definitely rusty after having a break after the first block of games. We need to improve and improve quickly, particularly the fundamentals of our game.
We played well against Munster at home before the break, so we know what we are capable of and we just have to deliver that type of performance consistently.
Toby Booth, Ospreys head coach
It’s a test for all of us and the senior and more experienced players know they have to lead by example on and off the pitch"
A lot of young players featured in our last two games and we need to show the self-belief and resilience that we showed against Munster. We certainly need to bounce back and this team has showed it can do that repeatedly.
We will certainly be better from that experience in Ireland and it is another part of this team’s learning curve. We all understand when you make a commitment to developing young players, there is going to be some pain but the rewards always come through to benefit the players and the team in the long run.
It’s a test for all of us and the senior and more experienced players know they have to lead by example on and off the pitch.
These players, even with players away on international duty or absent through injury, have delivered in an Ospreys shirt and the challenge is to do that consistently.
The Ospreys supporters played a key role with their support against Munster and we know we know we have to earn your support to make our home a formidable environment for our opponents.