Gruff Rees praised the “positive intent” of a young Ospreys side that ran in four tries in Saturday’s LV= Cup defeat to Exeter, but admitted it is a case of “what if?” as hosts secure win
Speaking after an entertaining game that saw the teams share nine tries despite difficult conditions, the Ospreys backs coach acknowledged that the game was one that the youngsters involved will take a lot from, positive and negative, as they review the events of an action packed 80 minutes at Sandy Park.
“We are disappointed as we came here to win a game of rugby, and to be on the wrong end of the scoreline is frustrating” said Rees.
“We lost some aspects of the power battle we have a young group of players and we had a very positive intent but it was clearly frustrating at times. We gave away some soft scores and allowed them to get some momentum, but we are trying to develop a style of rugby and there were young players there today who’ve put their hands up.
“We got some width and scored some good tries which was very pleasing, but we left another one or two out there. As nice as it was to see us come here and score four tries, we are still talking what ifs, because of conceding soft tries and not taking our chances.
“We started well and showed a good mindset, wanting to play rugby at the right times, but we forced a few things maybe and that led to turnovers. There were also questions around our accuracy at times and Exeter took advantage of that and got on top. We showed great positivity to come back and score a couple of tries that really brought us back in the game. Although momentum swung back the other way, the attitude and spirit from a young group was good to see and bodes well for the future.
“I look back to what was my first senior coaching experiences in terms of the Ospreys, in the LV= Cup, and I remember having people like Duncan, Goughie, Sonny Parker, Barry Davies, Jonathan Thomas all involved. Obviously the depth in our squad has gone in that respect. When you are under resourced you are clearly hit at the top level but it also bounces down to this respect as well.
“There are boys who’ve had their debut today and there are others who have started to be involved over the last 12 months or so, and it’s a pretty young group. Overall that was a very positive experience for them, albeit with some very harsh lessons out there at times off a good team. It was a good test for this group who now have a better understanding of what it takes to play at this level.
“We go to Bridgend next week for the final game in this competition and we’re hoping for another special occasion with the local community coming out to support these young Ospreys. There’ll possibly be some senior boys to come back in, with a view to the big run of Rabo games coming up. We are thin in depth as I said and we are trying to up skill players around this period.
“We know that results haven’t gone for us in this competition but, certainly today, we’ve shown a bit more about where we want to go. There’s been a few debutants in the team, and some of the boys go off to Wales age-group now, so it’s about getting that right mix and balance for next week and getting the right performance for the Bridgend community and our wider support base to be proud of.”