Chris Gibbes: Ospreys looking for improved performance
Guinness PRO12 league leaders wary of Scarlets' threat at home ahead of Saturday's derby clash in Llanelli
Chris Gibbes insists the Ospreys are still looking to improve as they prepare to travel to Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.
A 17-15 win over the Scarlets last week at the Liberty Stadium sent the Ospreys back to the top of the Guinness PRO12, but it was far from an assured performance with the Scarlets pack causing plenty of problems.
We keep looking at performance and we just really need to get that right. We’ve shown that when we get our performances right we can do things.
Coaching staff from both clubs also took issue with the clarity in the officiating by Italian referee Marius Mitrea, who yellow carded Scarlets wing Kristian Phillips early in the first half for a tip tackle, with the player later cited and banned for three weeks.
But assistant coach Gibbes believes there are still a number of areas that need improvement and the Ospreys’ focus is on sorting those problems out to get 2015 off to a perfect start and maintain their push for a play-off place.
“We’ve got a few things in our game that we need to put right,” he said.
“From a performance perspective, we just didn’t get there last week.
“We were inaccurate in a lot of areas and we tried to play a bit much when we were under pressure, so we’ve been focusing on getting that right.
“The one good thing we do here is we keep our feet firmly on the ground. We are top of the table, we won that game on the weekend and could quite easily have lost that game.
“We keep looking at performance and we just really need to get that right. We’ve shown that when we get our performances right we can do things.
“Clearly on Saturday, we didn’t play to the standard we want to and pressure from the Scarlets we were forced into doing things we don’t like doing.
“They’ve got some good results out of the scrum. It’s a great challenge for us. I don’t think we were too far away on some of them.
“We’ve got to get a couple of things sorted out and get it right.”
The Scarlets have a dismal away record, yet Wayne Pivac’s men remain unbeaten at Parc y Scarlets in the PRO12 this season, having lost just one competitive match at home of their last 15 in all competitions.
It’s going to be pretty massive down there. They’re a very parochial crowd and it’s about how we take that challenge on.
Despite that record, the Ospreys have won on five of their last six visits to Llanelli, including a 10-6 win on Boxing Day last season as a late Ian Evans try converted by Dan Biggar made the difference.
The Scarlets’ last win over the Ospreys at Parc y Scarlets happened on Boxing Day 2011 when Rhys Priestland got the better of Biggar in a kicking battle as the home side won 22-14.
And Gibbes believes it will be a huge challenge against the Scarlets on Saturday in front of an expected bumper crowd.
“We know that going down there, their sails are full of wind right now and we’ve just got to get our performances right and take on whatever they throw at us,” he added.
“It’s going to be pretty massive down there. They’re a very parochial crowd and it’s about how we take that challenge on.
“If we go into our shells and shy away from that then it’s going to be a long day, but there’s going to be plenty of Ospreys supporters down there as well, so the boys are excited and looking forward to it; they love these derby matches.
“We’ve got to be smart and on the weekend we probably went away from what works well for us and we paid the price for that. We won’t be able to do that down there.
“We know what works well for us. Rugby’s pretty simple: if you get good go-forward and you get across the gainline it gets you opportunities, and we’re just trying to build our game around that.”