“We are going to find out about our character”

The Ospreys won’t be patting themselves on the back after climbing to the top of the PRO12 at the weekend, skipper Alun Wyn Jones underlining that the biggest challenges lie ahead.

After the 29-7 win over Connacht, the Ospreys leapfrogged Munster to take top spot, with the Munstermen otherwise engaged in European competition, and with the competition breaking for a month, Jones reflected on the current standings when he spoke post-match to the press.

“We’re pleased to be where we are just after the halfway stage” said Alun Wyn.

“On reflection of the game, we’re probably a little bit disappointed at what we left out there in the first half, and we were under pressure at scrum time throughout the game.

“We still feel we’ve got a bit of work to do. It’s been a tough period of the season, around Christmas etc., with games coming thick and fast. It’s a task in itself, not only to go three from three over Christmas but to then be able to put a full stop after this and move on. 

“What we are not going to do is linger on this and pat ourselves on the back. We’re aware of where we are in the table but there’s a lot of work to do to stay there. 

“Sometimes it’s easier to be the hunter than the hunted and we know we’re going to be hunted now.” 

Reflecting on the differences between last season and this, Jones refused to dwell on the struggles during 2015/16, in the early stages in particular, instead referencing the hard work that has gone in to put the team where it is at present, in first spot in all three competitions at the start of 2017.

“For whatever reasons, we aren’t going to make excuses, there’s an element of hurt from last season” he said.

“We’ve gone through a period of reinvention over the last 18 months to two-years. There are a lot of young guys standing up now. Ultimately, it’s a young group that is willing to work hard for each other but we are going to be a team with a target on our back now and moving forward we are going to find out more about our character.”