Backs Coach Gruff Rees hailed the “team effort” that saw the Ospreys secure a crucial away win over Munster but stressed that the team must back it up when Edinburgh visit the Liberty on Friday.
- Ospreys now just 3 points and 1 position behind Munster, four behind 5th placed Edinburgh who come to the Liberty on Friday night
- Just one defeat in last eight PRO12 games for the Ospreys
- Next up after Edinburgh are back to back games in Ireland against Connacht and Leinster before the Ospreys host Scarlets on Saturday 26th March (3.00pm)
On a nail biting Valentine’s evening at Irish Independent Park in Cork, the Ospreys came from behind to defeat the hosts, showing flair and adventure in attack but then defending doggedly in the closing stages as Munster pushed for a winning score.
It means the Ospreys have now lost just once in their last eight PRO12 games as they look to claw their way back up the table and into the top six, and they are now just four points behind Edinburgh in fifth, ahead of the clash between the two teams next weekend.
“It’s a very pleasing night, in terms of performance and outcome” admitted Rees post-match.
“It was a strong team effort and by that, I’m talking about the entire 23. We used the full number and the bench made a huge impact, contributing fully to the win.
“The manner of the performance was very satisfying. We built on the second half of the Glasgow game, which in many ways was something of a watershed moment for us. We moved the ball well, we challenged them defensively throughout the game, asking questions, and we got our reward.
“The turnover rate was far too high, we need to get that down as on another day it would have cost us more dearly. They scored 14 points when we were in possession and not really in any kind of danger. That’s the risk/reward factor. We need to be better at weighing that up in an instant, to make better decisions at key times.
“Maybe that’s being hyper critical though because we saw great endeavour out there tonight, a great attitude and passion from a young squad whose average age was below 24. Our setpiece functioned better as the game went on and we were able to secure a memorable win on the road at a ground where Munster very rarely lose.
“We mixed it up at half-time, with some technical reminders and some positive messages, because we felt that we were definitely in the contest even though we were playing into the wind second half. We felt that the conditions actually suited our tactics, how we wanted to approach it, and the boys got their reward for sticking to the task.”
Rees underlined the need to put in a good performance at the Liberty against Edinburgh on Friday to ensure their efforts in Cork aren’t wasted.
“We knew that maybe we were under a little bit of pressure going into the game but we knew what we had to do and believed in our ability to go out there and do it” he said.
“We spoke in the changing room about the next few weeks, a continuation really of what we’ve been saying since this group stepped up at the start of the Six Nations window.
“This win will count for nothing if we don’t back it up on Friday night. We are up against a big, physical team in Edinburgh. They are defensively strong and don’t concede much, and they should have won against the Scarlets this weekend so this young group knows that they have to step up and go again after a very short turnaround. We’ll travel home tonight and we are back in tomorrow to begin preparations so it’s not easy but we are definitely up for this battle.
“It’s incredibly tight in the league this season. We are going to see plenty of movement in the table and any team that puts together a consistent run will make some headway. When you look at our next fixtures, Edinburgh then two more games in Ireland against Connacht and Leinster, followed by the Scarlets at home, it’s exciting. If we can build on this performance, keep improving and pick up some results then who knows how the table will start to look”
Tickets for Friday’s crunch PRO12 game against 5th placed Edinburgh at the Liberty Stadium are on sale now with adult prices starting at just £20.
Season members can still buy additional tickets at half price, just by clicking here now!