Josh Matavesi crossed for his first try in an Ospreys shirt to secure a draw against Racing Metro on Saturday, and after the game he hailed the team spirit shown at the Liberty Stadium.
The Fijian international, who arrived in Ospreylia this summer from Worcester Warriors, was playing against one of his former clubs having spent 15 months in Paris, was quick to praise his colleagues for their role in the build-up to his try, and he says that the camaraderie in the squad was a vital ingredient in an impressive second half comeback that kept the team’s European hopes alive ahead of Saturday’s return leg in France.
“The spirit shown by the boys was very pleasing” said Matavesi.
“We were a little bit flat at the start, a little bit slow. When we went 13 points down I don’t think anyone at that point would have backed us to get anything from the game but we stuck together and clawed it back to get the draw. We left a few points out there as well so in those circumstances I suppose we’ve got to be happy. We showed good spirit.
“Obviously I’m happy to get over the line but it’s a team game and I’d have taken the win over me scoring every time. The boys worked it well, there was a good offload from Tips, Webby was supporting as usual and I just happened to be in the right place in the right time. Yes, I’m happy to get over the whitewash but the result for the team is always what’s most important.
“It sets it up for next weekend in Le Mans. It’s not their home ground in Paris so we are playing at a neutral ground really, and we have to believe in ourselves when we go out there as we showed on Saturday what we can do against them if we get our game together.”
Matavesi insisted that the youthful Ospreys squad has a bright future ahead as it continues to benefit from experiences like Saturday’s:
“We’ve got a few injuries and whatever, but this squad has got plenty of spirit. We’ll go the extra mile for each other and that showed out there. It’s a young team, everybody knows that, but the more time we spend together, the more we play and the more experience we get as a group, we’re only going to get better as a team with time.
“That’s a good thing for the Ospreys, it’s a good thing for Welsh rugby, that we are heading in the right direction. We are a tight knit group and we want to succeed for the region.”
The Ospreys travel to the MM Arena in Le Mans this weekend for a game they know they must win to retain hopes of qualification for the knockout stages, and Matavesi is clear that the team will have to come out of the blocks at full speed.
“We are going to have to get a good start” he said.
“We can’t afford to give them the head start out there that we did here. We’ve got to be on top form from the first whistle and look to impose ourselves on them or we’ll get blown away and there may not be a way back this time.
“The coaches will look at the game in details and pick up where we did well and where we didn’t and no doubt they’ll prepare us well this week so that we are ready for it by Saturday.”