IT ALL becomes clear. After an action-packed weekend of Heineken Cup rugby, we find ourselves with a quarter-final fixture away to Toulon. With all the possibilities and variables that were talked about after the game it was great to see what our next challenge was going to be on Sunday evening.
Having talked to Leo (Cullen) and some of the other lads as a group we are looking forward to going to Toulon. Yes, it's a huge ask, but one we are excited about. It's a team that we have never played against before and in a venue we have never played in either, so it will offer a lot of new and exciting challenges. It really has everything; the home of the champions, a star-filled team and we are already looking forward to it.
It is a while away yet and there is a lot of rugby to be played before then. The game on Friday was one of the strangest I have experienced in the Heineken Cup. It started pretty fast with both teams testing each other out and then it just became a bit of a joke.
Both teams didn't look after the ball very well with the standard of ball handling and control some of the worst we have had in many years. Or at least it felt that way, anyway. The game was very broken up with long breaks due to injuries and the pace seemed to go out of the game.
Once Ian Evans was sent off the Ospreys' options were somewhat limited and we felt we could capitalise on the situation.
All that being said, it was a much better second half and we scored a few good tries which allowed us to progress to the next stage of the competition.
We have had a week off from training this week and some of the lads have taken the time to get away from the club and go on a holiday; others have taken the time to sort out injuries while the international boys are off into camp. I spent my time studying for an exam and also catching up on some well deserved R&R. It's great that we get the opportunity to break up the season and now it's very important to re-group and reassess our position in all competitions.
The club is in a good spot at the moment. Quarter-final of the Heineken Cup, second in the Pro12 and the 'A' Team in a quarter-final of the B&I Cup. Like I have said before, these sections of the season are so important in the shake up for the business end of the campaign. February and March are hugely important for us with six Pro12 games and a maximum of 30 points on offer. If we can stay fit and perform in this section of the season we will put ourselves in a very good position come the play-off part of the season.
We all need to apply ourselves and some of the younger lads need to take this opportunity like they have done in the past while the international boys are away and carry the team through.
It was also fantastic to see Richardt (Strauss) back playing. He has had a difficult few months and it was great for him and the group to have him back playing. He has a big influence on the team and we will need everybody over the next few months.