Forwards Coach, Chris Gibbes, has urged the young Ospreys to learn from their mistakes after suffering a narrow defeat at the hands of Racing Metro on Saturday night.
As was the case in the first leg last weekend, it truly was a game of two halves as Racing went in 15 points to the good at half-time only to be pegged back by the Ospreys after the break.
Making light of a 12-man injury list, the Ospreys hauled themselves back to within a point with 10 minutes to go but were just unable to finish the job and found themselves leaving France with just a losing bonus point.
A key factor of the game had been the Ospreys’ desire to keep the ball alive as they tried to run their bigger opponents off their feet. It was a tactic that almost worked, and, according to Gibbes, was a deliberate ploy:
“We tried to keep the ball on the park for as long as possible and try to run them” he said.
“We wanted to try and limit the setpiece and their lineout and for large parts of the game we achieved that. The fact that Racing Metro only had four lineouts tells the story of the game.
“We limited their ball and we had enough, we probably created enough opportunities, but at critical times we probably weren’t ruthless enough to finish them off
“I think last week they taught us a lesson physically around the lineout and the drive and we knew that as a group we just couldn’t afford to go there again. I thought we did pretty well in that area. It was a huge effort.”
Reflecting on both the performance and the result, Gibbes was obviously feeling mixed emotions, but he urged his young charges to learn from the experience.
“We’re really, really disappointed we lost that game. We thought we’d done enough to win. Obviously, they are a very good side and we are still a young, developing team, so for us two weeks in a row to push a big powerhouse like that, as close as we did, tells a story of what we are about.
“We’re incredibly proud of that group. To come over here and put out that second half performance in particular, and get so close. We’ve had a few injuries but as a group we don’t really talk too much about that. It’s not ideal by any stretch of the imagination but we dig in and the next guy up tries to do his best. I think that’s all you can really ask for.
“At the end of the day you can only control what you can control. We won’t talk about injuries in terms of what could have been. What we do know is we’ve had 23 guys out there who we expect to do a job and for large parts we did that today. The group we had out there today were good enough to win and in actual fact should have done that.
“We’re really excited about our future. As you can see there tonight I think we’re building something pretty special here. As far as the team, as far as our organisation, we’ve got a clear plan and I think you can see that we are starting to get somewhere along towards realising that plan.
“We’re excited, but we’ve also got to make sure we learn out of these defeats. We’ve actually got to take some of these opportunities and turn them into wins because there was a definite opportunity tonight that we’ve left out there.
“Again, we’re disappointed but very proud. We’re very, very proud of this group but we’ve just got to make sure we learn from these opportunities and take the wins when they are there because tonight I thought we should have won.”