Monday 23 October 2017

Ospreys' Gibbes lays down law after Connacht defeat

Ospreys forwards coach Chris Gibbes is eager to help make amends for last week’s defeat in Galway Photo: Getty
Ospreys forwards coach Chris Gibbes is eager to help make amends for last week’s defeat in Galway Photo: Getty

Daragh Small

Ospreys forwards coach Chris Gibbes says his side need to ramp up their standards to a whole new level if they stand any chance of overturning Leinster at RDS tomorrow.

Ospreys succumbed to a 30-22 defeat to Pro12 leaders Connacht at the Sportsground last time out and Leinster will be hoping to inflict another defeat on the Welsh outfit as they look to keep the pressure up on the Westerners.

Ospreys are eighth in the standings; before their Sportsground defeat, they had beaten Edinburgh and Munster in recent weeks to get back into contention for Champions Cup qualification.

However they remain four points behind Munster, who have a game in hand on them.

And Gibbes, brother of former Leinster forwards coach Jono, was devastated with his side's display in Galway as they lost more ground, and left with nothing.

"To go to the Sportsground and make Connacht look awesome that was the most disappointing thing really," he said.

"A lot of that was because of a lack of our defence. A lot of it was due to a lack of accuracy from us. But they took their opportunities, and we made them look great at times

"We went to Connacht to score four tries and through an officiating decision we missed the opportunity to get the fourth.

"The performance wasn't good enough.

"We have got tonnes of effort, tonnes of resilience but we just lack clarity and accuracy at crucial times. We turned the ball over five times in the first ten minutes against Connacht. We allowed them in our half straight away."

The four-time winners last claimed the Pro12 title in 2012 when they shocked Leinster 31-30 at RDS in the final. However Leinster have claimed the league crown in two out of the last three years.

Ospreys are well outside the play-off places - eight points behind Ulster, who are fourth ahead of the Round 17 fixtures.

It has been a massively competitive season, especially in the top half of the Pro12, and with the emergence of Connacht and Edinburgh there are likely to be two big casualties in the race for Champions Cup rugby.

Knocked out

Ospreys were knocked out of the Champions Cup on the final day of the pool stages. They finished tied on points with Exeter Chiefs and Bordeaux-Begles, but still ended up third in Pool 1.

They are now in real danger of not being part of European club rugby's showpiece event in 2016-17, after their eighth defeat in 16 games this season.

Dave Kearney bagged two tries and Noel Reid also crossed the whitewash when Leinster hammered Ospreys 22-9 in Round 12.

However with a number of Welsh internationals returning for this important clash it will be a more closely-fought affair. But Gibbes knows there is some big improving to be done.

"You have got to hold onto the ball for starters. You have got to look after it. Set-piece wise again you just have to get those things right. Against Connacht up front we didn't give the team a platform that we needed. It was pretty terrible all round really," he said.

Irish Independent

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