After watching the Ospreys lay to rest their Rodney Parade hoodoo with a 14-3 win on New Year's Eve, Forwards Coach Jonathan Humphreys has warned the players that they need to remain focused on the job in hand as they prepare to face Zebre at the Liberty Stadium on Friday night.
It’s a quick turnaround for the region, a third game in just nine days, but Humphreys is under no illusions of the size of the task ahead as they look to continue their recent run of good form.
“We’ve got a real short turnaround now, it’s a real massive game for us on Friday night” said Humphreys.
“Zebre possess a physical challenge, they gave us a real tough game out there earlier in the season and we are expecting the same again on Friday. We won’t be taking them lightly at all. It’s important that we keep our momentum going with some big challenges, including Europe, ahead of us. It’s important now that we don’t undo the good work of the last month or so by not going into this game with the right focus, and although we’ve only got a few days to prepare, we’ll be drilling that into the players.
“We have enjoyed some big crowds and great atmospheres at the Liberty over the last few weeks and we’d love the same again on Friday. It’s not on TV and there’s a great ticket deal available so hopefully we’ll have plenty of fans there backing the cause again.”
After a totally dominant display at the Liberty on Boxing Day, this was a much closer affair all round, and Humphreys agreed with the suggestion that everyone present at Rodney Parade had seen a different side to the Ospreys.
“Yes, and that’s really pleasing” he said.
“It’s always been an underlying theme to how we try to play. It wasn’t pretty by any means but I had no doubt that we had the ability to do that in us. We kept our discipline, didn’t give away too many penalties and we managed to contain them.
“First half they dominated field position which enabled them to look a little dangerous. We made some adjustments at half time and I thought as a team we looked in total control after the break.
“In the second half we managed to control the field a bit better than we had in the first, which allowed us to put quite a bit of pressure on them resulting in a cheap try for us.
“The other seven or eight times I’ve been down here it’s been the other way around so we’re happy with that. We understood how difficult it would be coming down here, especially in these conditions, we’re just delighted to be going home with a win.
“We’re really happy with where we are now as a group, as a squad, there’s an excellent feeling about the squad. This has been a good experience for the youngsters in the group tonight that will benefit them in the long run. It’s the first time that Ross Jones on the wing would have had that kind of abuse from the crowd!
“We made some unforced errors in the first half and in the past here that has affected us. Thankfully that wasn’t the case today.”