Sport Rugby

Saturday 18 November 2017

Prop Jones desperate to shed Ospreys' underachiever tag

David Kelly

David Kelly

While Munster retain their own sense of bitterness following the tempestuous fallout from last week's 'first-leg' tie against the Ospreys, the Welsh side are themselves seething at events in Thomond Park.

And, while Munster managed to remain unscathed in the frantic final 10 minutes following Paul O'Connell's sending-off, the Ospreys coughed up 14 points when they lost a man, prop Paul James, to the bin in the third quarter.

That turned the game in Munster's favour and with the Ospreys needing victory today to avoid a third loss and virtual elimination from knock-out contention, James' fellow front-rower Adam Jones was last night still fuming at referee Christophe Berdos' sin-binning decision.

"We had a bad 15 minutes and Paul James' yellow card, which was bulls**t," slammed the irate Welsh international.

"The referee kind of penalised us for actually going in. For me, it wasn't. If the tight-head rolls his shoulder in, that's a sign he's under pressure."

Ultimately, Jones expressed a measure of satisfaction that the bonus point offers them a launching pad to strike for victory today -- although he also cautioned that Munster's breakdown tactics need to be thwarted if Ospreys are not to slink out of Europe yet again.

"We got a losing bonus point, which was the minimum," he continued. "It was the same in Toulon -- they were two games we felt we could have won. It's a big game this weekend. We know if we lose, we're out. But we are pretty confident we can beat them. They tried to slow the ball a bit, to make it a bit of a s**t-fight.

"Munster are a wily bunch who have been around for a while. They will come here and try to spoil the game.

"Our failures in Europe are very frustrating. People look at our squad and see the players we have got. They think we should be doing better. I look at squad and from a personal point of view, we should be doing better.

"Against Saracens, in our first year in the quarter-finals (2008), we messed it up and we did against Biarritz last season. It's getting over that hurdle and pushing on from there.

"I'm sure it's frustrating for the fans but it's very frustrating for us as players. Look at our pack: it's full of world-class players and our backs as well. We just need to start pushing on a bit.

"We know how hard the pool is and it's become that much harder with Toulon having won at London Irish. We're going to have to win our three remaining games to go through, but we're good enough to do just that.

"We're a good side. We haven't lost at home in Europe for a long time (Leicester, 2005). We need to pull our fingers out if the boys who are leaving want to win this competition with the Ospreys.

"Then there's the extra carrot at the end with the final at the Millennium Stadium this season. It's about time we reached a final. All the good things that are said about the Ospreys are from outside, it's not us blowing our own trumpet.

"Right now, my main goal is to do something with the Ospreys and not just win the Magners League or EDF. We've got the squad to reach a final of Europe and even win it."

Irish Independent

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