Steve Tandy: Ospreys’s past results count for nothing

Ospreys coach expects a big challenge in their European Rugby Champions Cup campaign

By Gareth Llewellyn

Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy believes past results count for nothing as they prepare to open their European campaign against Benetton Treviso.

The South Wales region are the only remaining club unbeaten as focus switches from league matters to the European Rugby Champions Cup this weekend and have the added bonus of defeating the Italians 44-13 at the Liberty Stadium on the opening day of the Guinness PRO12 season.

We’ll go into the game level on points with Treviso, and knowing that we’ll be trailing either Northampton or Racing Métro after they play Saturday

Steve Tandy

Since then, the Ospreys have stormed to another five wins with 19 tries scored and just six conceded, but they expect a tougher examination in the new European tournament.

“This is the start of a new challenge for us as a group,” Tandy said. “We’ve had a good run of results in the PRO12 but that doesn’t count for anything on Sunday.

“We’ll go into the game level on points with Treviso, and knowing that we’ll be trailing either Northampton or Racing Métro after they play Saturday. That’s the reality of what this weekend is about.”

Tandy has had to deal with the loss of several experienced Wales internationals – forwards Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Ian Evans and Ryan Jones headed for pastures new in the summer – as well as having his club written off before the season started.

Now, they’re considered PRO12 play-off contenders as they continue to strive for perfection, something Tandy admits they have yet to achieve despite their impressive start to the season.

“We haven’t been focusing on results over the last six weeks, we’ve been consistent since pre-season in that we are concentrating on the performance and ensuring that we get the right balance in the week leading up to the game and then on match-day,” he added.

“We are pursuing excellence in everything we do. We haven’t always achieved that this season, and there’ll be times we fall well short with such a young group, but that has to be the target.

“We are proud of the start we’ve had in the PRO12, but aren’t getting carried away with ourselves.”

Their opponents, however, have had one of the worst starts to the league, sitting bottom of the PRO12 with just one losing bonus point to their name as they have scored just six tries in their six matches so far and conceded 24 tries.

But Tandy expects to a bigger test in the European competition and believes he will learn more about his young squad with Racing Métro and Northampton Saints also in their pool.

“Sunday is the first leg of a six game run in this competition where we are up against it, but we’ll thrive on the challenge,” he said.

“We know that there are some tough tests ahead over the coming weeks and months and we’ll start to find out a lot more about the players in this group when we have our backs to the wall.

“That will happen, and it’s important that we accept and prepare for it. There’ll be ups and downs, but what we can guarantee is that we will keep focused and keep doing the right thing.”

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