Zebre 14 Ospreys 15: Chris Gibbes happy with hard-fought win

Zebre 14 Ospreys 15: Chris Gibbes happy with hard-fought win in the Guinness Pro12

Guinness PRO12 league leaders Ospreys were delighted to come through a tough encounter with Italian side Zebre to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

The Welsh region had to dig deep and were reliant on the kicking of replacement outside-half Sam Davies to get them over the line after Dan Biggar was taken off concussed early in the first half in Parma.

“We made incredibly hard work of it” said forwards coach Chris Gibbes.

“It wasn’t an ideal start, going behind so early, but credit to the boys. They showed real spirit and kept playing for 80 minutes.

“They’ve got a great attitude and I’m delighted that they got their reward for digging in. We want our players to be relentless and they certainly were [on Friday night] in difficult circumstances.

“Everything we knew about Zebre and everything we came here expecting from them materialised out there but at times we failed to deal with it and played into their hands.

“They are a tough, physical outfit who are causing teams real problems on their own patch so we are delighted to be leaving with four points. That’s something we didn’t do last season so it’s a definite improvement.”

Kiwi Gibbes was critical of his team for giving the Italians chances to stay in the game with needless penalties.

“Once again we put ourselves under pressure by giving away too many penalties, which made it too easy for them at times,” he added.

“Lack of discipline lost us field position at times, and allowed them to keep ahead of us despite not really threatening throughout the game.

“That’s really disappointing and needs to be sorted out. We can’t go on like that.”

Despite winning their opening five matches of the campaign and sitting top of the table, the Ospreys still have plenty to work on ahead of a home derby clash against Cardiff Blues in Swansea next Sunday.

“The reality of it though is we’ve picked up two wins away from home inside a week so we’ll take that,” Gibbes said.

“It’s another experience for this young group, another difficult test that we’ve come through and that’s a positive.

“What was clear, and what we’ve said all week, is that we still have a long way to go before we can be considered the finished article.

“There’s plenty of areas to learn from and improve on from this, no one is hiding from that.

“It’s been a tough week with two away games and plenty of travelling so everybody is looking forward to going home, having a few days off, and then gearing up for a derby match at the Liberty in front of our own fans next weekend.

“Without looking too far ahead, the boys will be up for that one, and the way the Blues ended their game in Connacht [on Friday] you can guarantee they’ll come here believing they can win, so it should have all the spice you’d expect of a derby match.”

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