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Monday Morning Quarterback View

Updated: Apr 2, 2021

Friday night saw the Ospreys attempt Mission Impossible in the form of defeating runaway Conference leaders Leinster in Dublin. After an impressive first 10 minutes of continuous attack from the Ospreys that brought no scores, the following 55 minutes saw Leinster assume control and build a 19-3 advantage, a lead they looked likely to add to rather than surrender. A plucky loss looked on the cards when a yellow card for a high tackle was capitalised on by the Ospreys with a close range try from some technically excellent close driving play, and a losing bonus point started to look a possibility. The gap was closed still further by another close-range effort, as the Ospreys started to look the more energetic of the two sides. Still, it seemed unlikely the Leinster defence would be pierced again, but within minutes a charge down by Josh Thomas had turned the unlikely into reality and given the Ospreys four minutes to defend a lead that would mean Conference third place and guaranteed European qualification. It was a great tribute to the defence that they comfortably handled whatever Leinster could throw at them in those final minutes.

The result was a triumph for Booth and his coaching team. In a truncated season, stripped of his best players for the final run in, he had taken a threadbare squad into a third placed position that few would have believed possible, when he was appointed at one of the lowest points in the team’s history. Along with Duncan Jones and smart use of the bench, he has produced a scrum that gets stronger as the game goes on, and a credible attacking maul from the line out, that seems to have been passed on by our senior players to the international team. Despite limited pace from the 10 and 15 positions, and no big ball carriers for most of the season, Brock James has found a way to use the personnel at his disposal to build a limited but still effective attacking game.


We have to hope that the new owners will now give Booth the budget to strengthen the squad, and he will use the money wisely to supplement the talent being produced by the pathway. A number of young players have put their hands up, but the squad still lacks explosive, athletic ball carriers and elite pace behind. A handful of signings, targeted at these types of players, for next season and the seasons after, added to the excellent captures of Tomas Francis and Jac Morgan will bring renewed supporter optimism for the times ahead. A return to being competitive against teams with bigger budgets might really be on the verge of returning.

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