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Monday Morning Quarterback View

Updated: Apr 2, 2021

A pleasant sunny day in January in Galway allowed the Ospreys to again showcase that there is more than a wet weather game in their arsenal. Better conditions are showing us the potential in Brock James' attack structure.

The first half showed so much technical excellence in terms of taking contact away from the previous ruck area, with a series of quick lateral passes and great ball presentation at the breakdown. Numerous line breaks, and a defence that seemed in control, suggested a comfortable lead. Incredibly we turned around with a 12-point deficit. A failure to finish off linebreaks was compounded by conceding a very soft try, through overplaying in an area we were short on numbers, and even more so by a subsequent series of soft penalties. A completely unnecessary high tackle gave them field position in Coffin Corner, which they converted into a seven pointer on the half time whistle.

Returning after the break with seven forwards, the Ospreys seven-man scrum, that had been heavily penalised in the previous half, produced a barnstorming recovery scrum, and the resulting penalty was the catalyst for getting back into the game. Interplay from Protheroe North and Williams produced a superb try before our excellent driving line out created the chance for Webb to put us back in front.

Unfortunately, the disease of unnecessary high tackle penalties haunted us again, giving Connacht the field position from which they eventually kicked a penalty. Yet again though, the weapon of having a strong bench scrum proved decisive, as this time Connacht were backed into Coffin Corner. At this point Tips showed great captaincy nous by not going for excess scrums and choosing the line out. Frank Murphy can be a very arbitrary referee at scrum time, and with inexperienced assistants, a contrary call against us at the scrum was more likely than at the line out. His call proved the correct one, as we took a lead, we did not look likely to surrender, despite conceding far too many penalties for comfort.

This is likely to be the last Pro 14 match this season that we see our international contingent. We now have five games left to secure third place in the conference, which will come in a five-week run from February 23rd. Our squad is relatively thin, and because of that we may see a lot of young players. It won't be easy, but one thing Osprey fans can be sure of is that Booth will not put an under prepared team out on the paddock.

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