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Monday Morning Quarterback View

The URC returned and the Ospreys travelled to local rivals, the Scarlets, for the West Wales derby.

Opening games of any season are always difficult to assess as players start to get back up to speed with varying levels of preparation.

The first 40 minutes of the season opener saw a controlled Osprey performance - solid at set piece and on top at the breakdown. Unfortunately, we failed to capitalise on a prolonged period of pressure, taking some poor options and on the stroke of half-time compounded matters by conceding an unnecessary three points. It was nonetheless an encouraging opening half the season.

The Scarlets looked generally impotent, and we were showing signs of an attacking structure. But the failure to clinically put them away meant we went into the break with a gnawing feeling they were unlikely to continue to play as impotently as they had. Sadly, this proved to be the case.

The second half did not see a continuation of our control. We seemed to lose concentration at vital times and the Scarlets grew in confidence. Our kicking out of hand was erratic and we started to lose the territorial battle. A trio of missed tackles allowed Jonny Williams to run in for a soft equalising score and further loose play let Costellow cut us up the middle.

As the game wore on, there seemed no way back and a loss with no bonus points was on the cards. At this point the team showed incredible inner strength holding back wave after wave of Scarlets attack and their failure to take 3 points when on offer came back to haunt them. Amongst the heroics in defence three individual pieces of play by Walsh, Nagy, and the outstanding impact sub - Lake kept us in the game. We managed to go 90 yards and with the clock in the red showed the sort of composure close to the line, which had we showed it in the first half, would have easily iced the game. It gave Jack Walsh the chance to show he could kick under pressure, and he delivered.

At the end of the day two points away from home could be a decent result when the season finally shakes down. We need to ensure we nail our home games and when they are on offer take bonus points. Next week will need a step up in our attacking play and some squad rotation so that we don't repeat the problems of last season when, by the time the Cell C Sharks came to town, too many players were not fresh enough to take them on.

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