Try-scorer Ryan Jones said that the derby day victory at Parc y Scarlets was built on an improvement in the basics of the game, with the teams attitude, desire and physicality getting them across the winning line in the closing stages of what had proven to be a real arm wrestle.
It was the Ospreys centurion’s first outing of the season following injury and speaking to the press on Friday night he expressed his pleasure at being back in action and being able to help kick-start the season, saying:
“It’s good to be back, it’s been a long and trying summer personally shall we say? I’d always targeted this game so it’s great to come down here for a big derby, packed with passionate fans, and sneak a win.
“I’d probably say the feeling in the dressing room as relief more than anything. When you target something, when you work so hard towards it, that initial emotion is relief. After the first couple of weeks we didn’t really think we were the worst team in the world, and on the flip side we certainly don’t think we’re the best team in the world after a win like that.
“The thing for us is there were far more positives in aspects of the game that we pride ourselves on. We showed glimpses of that tonight with our attitude, that desire, the work at the breakdown, it was much better. It enabled us to get more possession, more territory, and that gets you points doesn’t it?
“We were far more physical and that’s something you expect when you put on an Ospreys jersey. That’s the difference, you can build on that, which we were able to do tonight.”
Jones marked his return off the bench with a crucial try that set the region on the way to victory and he said his score came at a vital time.
“The ball ended up on the deck, I looked up and thought there was a few yards I could gain on the blindside there” he continued.
“I literally managed to sneak in the corner. I think it came at a time where it swung the game our way and we closed it out from there.
“The game was in the balance for what, 65, 70 minutes? They don’t come closer than that. These games are one score games usually, like it was tonight. We came here knowing that we had to be in contention at half-time, it’s a difficult place to come on derby day, and if we could do that then there was a chance we’d be in it towards the end.
“Of course you’ll take confidence from it, but we weren’t lacking confidence from the previous results. We knew there were things lacking in our game so we’ve gone away and worked incredibly hard on those and managed to build. That was by no means a polished performance but we’ll go and pick the bones out of it. We’ve got an eight day turnaround before Munster at the Liberty Stadium and we’ve got to be better again. We’ve got to keep working hard and remember we are only one from four.
“It’s derby day and there’ll be some banter flying about in workplaces all along the M4 corridor on Monday. We’re just glad that we could send those fans who were at the game home with their heads held high after what was a tough, keenly contested battle between local rivals and two good teams.”