RaboDirect Pro12: Steve Tandy calls on Ospreys to maintain standards

RaboDirect Pro12: Steve Tandy calls on Ospreys if they want to break into the top four

By Gareth Llewellyn

Steve Tandy has called on the Ospreys to maintain their standards if they want to break back into the RaboDirect Pro12 top four.

The south Wales region slipped to fifth place as Glasgow Warriors clawed their way back into the top four with a run of four wins in four matches, including a narrow win over the Ospreys.

In terms of the Ospreys, whatever the outcome over the next few weeks it is crucial that we keep building momentum on and off the pitch

Steve Tandy

But Tandy’s side stunned league leaders Leinster last week to keep their chances of making the end of season play-off alive.

“We picked up a crucial win at the Liberty last Friday, against Leinster, but the reality of our position means that we have to hit those standards again on Sunday against the Dragons and then twice more again over the final few weeks of the season,” Tandy said.

“We know that our play-off destiny is out of our hands but that doesn’t mean that we won’t be giving it everything to try and put pressure on the teams above us.

“We have to do that, we have to make sure that if one of them slip up, we are in a position to take full advantage.

“With some of the key games coming up featuring the top teams playing each other, points will be dropped, that’s inevitable.”

Tandy continues to blood young talent ahead of an exodus of experienced players in the summer, which includes former Wales captain Ryan Jones, hooker Richard Hibbard and lock Ian Evans, but he insists there is still room for development.

“In terms of the Ospreys, whatever the outcome over the next few weeks it is crucial that we keep building momentum on and off the pitch,” he added.

“I keep saying it, but there is no going away from the fact that we have a young group of players, and there is some exciting talent coming through the ranks who are getting some invaluable experience at the top end of the game.

“What they will have taken from winning such a tight game against a quality team like Leinster last week you can’t measure.

“If we have the support, crowd wise and financially, to keep this group of players together as they develop and flourish then the future for the Ospreys is a pretty exciting one, and all credit to the board for the money they invest into our development structure.

“We are beginning to see the benefits of that investment, but there is a long way to go yet.”
The four-time league champions face Newport Gwent Dragons at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday with a 13-game winning streak against Welsh opposition, but need to win their remaining three games and hope the teams above them drop points to have a chance of making the play-offs.

“We know what the Dragons will bring on Sunday and with it being a derby game at the Millennium,” Tandy said.

“The message will be very much that the boys need to stay grounded, forget about everything that is going around them, and focus on the job in hand.

“They can’t afford to get distracted, for us it’s about getting and getting the job done.

“They set the benchmark against Leinster and they mustn’t fall below that, they’ve got to keep on striving to improve.

“If they do that, then we could extend our season into the play-offs, and beyond that, go into the new season positively.”

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