"We didn't do ourselves justice"

Director of Coaching Scott Johnson cut a frustrated figure following the 26-all draw with Benetton Treviso on Saturday afternoon but speaking at the post-match press conference he said that the Ospreys remained in control of their own fate.

Speaking to the media in the late afternoon Italian gloom, Johnson said:

“It’s going to be tight. The next couple of rounds, the back-to-backs, will determine the pools – or at least determine them a bit more. That was the case last term.

“Every one gets carried away with rounds one and two but rounds three and four are hugely important. By the end of those games, everyone’s had a good shot at each other and you can actually see the lie of the land.

“Our destiny is in our own hands, but perhaps the next two weeks haven’t come at the best time for us.”

Next up, he was asked whether people’s expectations of the Ospreys should be lowered following the changes at the region during 2011, to which he responded:

“People ‘s expectations can be what they are. We’re leading one competition and are still alive in another, despite going through probably the most change of anyone. The late returning of some of our key personnel, and the arrival during the season of players who have never been with us, like Kahn and George – we’ve had to hurry that process along. We’ll get better. But it’s not an easy year.

“But it’s not an easy year for anyone. You only have to look at Northampton. They have the same sort of problems with people coming back and are a little disjointed. It just takes a bit of time. It’s no excuse. This is the league we play in. This is where we have to do it.

“People can have whatever expectations they want to have. They should just expect this team to have resolve. This team showed character against Treviso that they probably didn’t have in the past. They could have imploded, but they didn’t.”

The Ospreys renowned stinginess in defence went missing during the second half, with their opponents running in three tries, something that disappointed Johnno:

“Some key personnel let us down a bit there actually, the ones that we really, really rely on. Sometimes it happens in a game. Sometimes they have a bad day at the office. We’re renowned for our defence.

“There were a couple of things that were disappointing, un-Ospreys like. We won’t go into specifics, but everyone watched the game.

“But if you continually put yourselves under pressure by dropping the ball for no apparent reason, you defence is always going to be under pressure.

"When you have the ball you have to make them pay. That’s clearly what we didn’t do.

“As a coach you can either sit down and rant and rave or do it another way.

"I’m not going to walk up to a kid and say you should have made that tackle or you should have caught that ball. You don’t say those things. They’re obvious statements. You just have to sit down and be clear and honest. The fact is we didn’t do ourselves justice.

"However, we showed enough grit to maybe keep control of the pool. Maybe that might be enough.”

It was a late long range penalty from Matthew Morgan that rescued a share of the spoils, and Johnson was quick to pay tribute to the teenager:

“It was fantastic” he said.

“It’s funny because I don’t get really nervous during games. I don’t think it’s my day to be nervous. I think it’s their day to be nervous. But if any kid was made to kick that penalty it was probably him. He thinks he can walk on water, so he might be the bloke to do it! So that’s okay. He’s had to battle against the odds with his size, so it’s no different with a kick. It’s a battle against the odds.”

The Ospreys incurred the wrath of the home fans at the end of the game when with it all square and time up they opted to put the ball out and settle for the draw rather than attempting to work their way up the field in search of the win. Johnson agreed that it had also surprised him, although he understood why the team chose that option:

“It’s a funny thing what happened there, I’d expect them to run it.

"It tells a story. They took the kick for a reason. They thought in their head ‘let’s get out of there‘. In their heads they thought they had got out of jail.

“We could have played another play, conceded a penalty and come away with one. Who knows? You can’t disprove it, either way. We got the two points. Did we want four or five? Yes we did. But maybe somewhere we are underrating Treviso. I think everyone might be underrating them, because you can’t put the Dragons away for 50 points if you are hopeless.

“It’s been a tough week for us because we haven’t really trained, with all those kids injured. We didn’t underrate them. We knew they’re not an easy team to play.

“I’ve coached Brendan Williams and know the talent that kid has. If he gets you one-on-one against a slow front row he’s going to light up the crowd.

I wanted four points. Would I settle for two? I’d settle for two more than one or zero. It wasn’t perfection, but we still have our destiny in our own hands. That’s not a bad thing, either.”