Forwards Coach, Chris Gibbes, says that a lack of physicality and a failure to protect the ball were the key reasons behind Saturday’s disappointing defeat in Treviso.
A scrappy contest was settled at the death when Treviso were awarded a penalty try with time up to steal the win from the visitors, but Gibbes was offering no excuses post-match as he reflected on the setback.
“It’s pretty poor” was his honest assessment.
“I thought we created a lot in the game, we had a lot of line breaks, a hell of a lot more than usual, but I think we lacked discipline, we lacked that relentless ability to hold onto the ball and put teams away. Too often we were putting them under pressure and ended up back defending, because of our own mistakes.
“Our work at the breakdown was poor, we got pushed off the ball. We didn’t look after the ball, respect possession, and that’s the fundamentals of rugby. We clearly didn’t do that today.
“Scrum wise as well, we got pumped, and it’s really disappointing. We’ve got to look at ourselves. Fair play to them, they’ve done well, but you’ve got to hold your hands up. I thought we’ve done enough to win it but it’s our mistakes, again, our errors, that are costing us.”
Gibbes added that the standards expected of any Ospreys team hadn’t been met at Stadio Comunale di Monigo:
“We lacked physicality in certain areas and that’s not the Ospreys way. That’s something we’ve spoken about after the game in the changing room, every time you pull an Ospreys jersey on there’s an expectation on you, and we didn’t fulfill that today.
“The pressure that we found ourselves under was of our own doing. We made plenty of line breaks but we weren’t disciplined enough, we were trying to score too early. Instead of building phases, we were trying to shift it, or pick and go through the middle a little too much, and ending up losing possession. We were our own undoing and that’s the most frustrating thing.
“The positive thing is that this young group will learn from these mistakes, and they’ll get another chance to take us forward. We’ve got some important games to look forward to in the PRO12 now and this group has to bounce back and show real character.”
With the region’s Wales contingent now away for the next couple of months on Six Nations duty, Gibbes laid down the challenge to the squad to step up and drive the PRO12 play-off challenge over the coming weeks.
“There is a gap now in the squad where we are losing some quality players for the next couple of months but these youngsters have to try and close the gap” he said.
“We want to go forward as a group, as an organisation, and these guys are the ones that have to do it. It does take time, and the brutal thing in this tournament is that you don’t have a lot of time. You either get it right or you get burned, and we got burned tonight.
“It’s a pretty quiet dressing room to be fair. The guys know they didn’t play well, they know they didn’t represent the Ospreys to the standard we expect, and at the end of the day, it’s just not good enough.”