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Monday Morning Quarterback View

In an 18-game league, with limited return fixtures, victories on the road are going to be crucial and this was most certainly mission accomplished for the Ospreys in that regard.

The standout aspect of the performance was how well our defensive scheme held up. The Dragons rarely threatened to break the line, and had it not been for a total loss of concentration by replacement hooker Taione in the final five minutes, the game would have been closed out far more comfortably.

Given the defensive problems witnessed at Franklin's Gardens a fortnight ago the coaching staff and Richie Pugh in particular must have worked very hard to transform the defensive effort. Players were numbering up and communicating like a professional defence and Luke Morgan seemed more aware of his defensive positioning than we have ever seen previously and gave an excellent all-round performance.

The most striking aspect of the game was the penalty count. It was 9-3 in favour of the Dragons in the first half and 8-2 in favour of the Ospreys in the second half. That was a clear and encouraging sign that the team adjusted to officiating interpretations and stopped trying to over compete at the breakdown. Although with that kind of adverse penalty count, better teams than the Dragons would have been out of sight by the half, and we cannot take so long to adjust as the fixtures become harder.

The new signings gave strong performances with Michael Collins justifiably taking MOM, running great lines in attack, marshalling the defence, and showing he can kick effectively with both feet.

Cardiff next week will be a very different challenge. They attack the breakdown very aggressively and have some dangerous runners behind the scrum. The same intensity of defensive effort will be required and hopefully our attack will be a lot sharper than we saw today to give encouragement to the first home crowd that a Booth coached team has ever played in front of.

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