Saturday 18 November 2017

Opportunity knocks for players to stake claim

Casey Laulala
Casey Laulala

Rob Penney

It would be really great to finish off this block of games with another good performance when we meet Ospreys tomorrow night. We know Ospreys will be tough, but we won't lack incentive given that we struggled against them last season and it would be nice to complete this period with another good display at Thomond Park.

All sides want to go into the break for the internationals on the back of a good performance.

We will go into this game with the boost we got from the win in Glasgow last weekend, it showed we can win away from home against a side who had been unbeaten on their own ground for a long time.

We knew it would be tough and we had some adversity to deal with leading up to the game when we lost Keith Earls and then Paul O'Connell after he pulled up in the warm-up, but they are the sort of issues which can arise at the last moment and the boys dealt with it all very well and delivered a good performance.

It was particularly pleasing given the growing maturity of our group, they showed great desire and energy, and deserved to come away with the points.

There are times when you just have to adapt to what's in front of you and be prepared to win ugly. The points you pick up in those matches are every bit as important as those you get from playing beautiful rugby, and you need them all when it comes to being in a position towards the end of the season to battle for honours.

Right throughout the season, in what is a very competitive league, you need to be able to adjust and deal with what is thrown at you and just accumulate the points.


Teams have seen over the years in this competition that a win picked up at the last moment, or perhaps even a bonus point, can make such a difference when May comes and teams are jostling for places to bid for honours.

In that context, the outcome in Glasgow was very pleasing but, as with all games, you learn what you can from it and move on quickly as the next test is never far away.

It has been a tough segment of matches but we are pleased with the outcome so far but know that we will need to deliver another good performance against Ospreys.

They are right up at the top as well and they have produced good displays to get there and at this point there is very little between the sides in the Rabo, Ospreys have scored the most tries of any team in the Rabo to date, which indicates their attacking threats.

There is an opportunity here, with so many away on international duty, for some players to step forward and put their hands up and I'm sure the boys will do that.

We have a good squad and the performances of the B&I Cup team, not just this season, have given us a lot of options and it has been encouraging to see the way guys take an opportunity when it is presented.

It has been a busy period – eight competitive games in a row – and the short break will be welcome to allow preparation to be stepped up for the next block of matches.

But we hope to go into that break with another good performance in the bag and continue the sort of displays which have been produced in this segment already. Ospreys will come to Thomond Park with the same ambition and that should make for a very good contest tomorrow night.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport