As the Ospreys prepare for Saturday's Heineken Cup against Toulon, Ryan Jones says that he and his teammates "have to take a long hard look" at themselves following their defeat to London Irish last weekend.
The 24-12 reverse at the Madejski Stadium ended the region’s hopes of progression to the knockout stage, meaning this weekend’s game at the Liberty Stadium is now about potential Amlin Cup qualification and ERC ranking points, rather than being the winner takes all showdown that had been anticipated.
Despite the disappointment in the camp following the defeat, Jones insists that the Ospreys simply have to bounce back on Saturday afternoon, saying:
“Understandably it was downbeat after the game. You gear up your season to challenge in the Heineken Cup and to not just have it taken away from you but to throw it away essentially, it’s disappointing. There’s going to be fallout, we have to take a long hard look at ourselves, and each other, and see how we can rescue our season from this.
“We owe it to ourselves and our fans to put in the performances between now and the end of the season and reward them for their continuous support which was fantastic once again last Sunday. I’m just so disappointed that they didn’t get the reward they deserved.”
With the big prize of the Heineken Cup taken away from them, Jones says that the Ospreys will be determined to make amends over the coming months:
“We’ve still got silverware to play for this season so we have to change our focus. We’ve got one round of Heineken Cup rugby left, no more, and it hurts to know that we won’t be going through from the pool stages. It’s not a dead rubber, a nothing game, there’s a possible Amlin Cup place at stake, ranking points and our home record but it’s not what everybody wanted this weekend to be about and we’ve only got ourselves to blame.
“There’ll be an opportunity for some guys to step in on Saturday against top class opposition and stake a claim for themselves personally, for others they will need to rectify things, get some credibility back from last week.
“We aren’t playing for what we hoped we would be on Saturday, but every game matters in this jersey. It’s important that we do the shirt justice. We’ve got a duty to the fans, to the public, everyone that has shown faith in us, to make sure we do cement our place as a competitive European Cup team and we can only do that by performing when you get the opportunity against these top sides.
“We were all bitterly disappointed at the weekend and I can completely understand the frustration our fans were feeling and probably still are. They were magnificent again at London Irish, and we desperately want to pay them back for their brilliant support. We really do appreciate their support and it’s bitterly disappointing that they didn’t get what they wanted and deserved. It wasn’t a good bus journey home, believe me, but it’s another day now and another match. We need the fans to stick with us, we’ll have another day and another opportunity to reward then, if we all work together.”