Jonathan Humphreys calls on Ospreys to bounce back from defeat
JONATHAN Humphreys has challenged the Ospreys' players to redeem themselves with a big performance against Ulster at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday evening.
A disappointing opening to the Pro12 campaign saw the champions crash 12-6 to Treviso at the Monigo Stadium and have Wales second-row Ian Evans red-carded.
Despite losing Evans in the 32nd minute, after the second of two yellow cards, the Ospreys had enough opportunities to have won but were uncharacteristically wasteful, with three try-scoring chances going begging and three out of five shots at goal also failing to find the target.
But with 9,000-plus season tickets sold for the campaign, they are determined to quickly atone, starting against an Ulster side who began the season with a solid 18-10 win over Glasgow.
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"We wanted to get off to a winning start but weren't able to," said Humphreys, the region's forwards coach.
"We came up short and now it's about working hard to make sure we perform better against Ulster in front of our own fans at the weekend."
The Ospreys are likely to wait for referee John Lacey's report before deciding whether to contest Evans's dismissal. There is an automatic disciplinary hearing for a red card.
The lock's first yellow looked harsh, the Irish official acting early in the game after Evans appeared to play the ball on the floor. The second followed a high tackle that levelled an Italian attacker.
After the game, the Ospreys didn't have an issue with what had happened.
"I wouldn't criticise the referee on a decision like that," said Humphreys. "Sometimes they go your way, sometimes they don't."
The indiscipline wasn't just confined to Evans, especially before the break when the Ospreys repeatedly incurred the wrath of Lacey.
Treviso weren't even that good.
Despite playing with only 14 men for more than half the game, the Ospreys enjoyed 60 per cent of the possession, but couldn't translate their dominance into points.
"We were very disappointed how it went, especially in the first half," said Humphreys.
"Our discipline let us down. We did everything we'd said pre-match that we wouldn't do, allowing them to build a lead with three, six, nine points.
"We were well aware that it was going to be tough but when you aren't at your best and are lacking discipline then you make life very difficult for yourself, and that was definitely the case against Treviso. They made us pay dearly.
"We were a lot better in the second half.
"It's fair to say we were the dominant team and we created the better opportunities, but for a number of reasons we didn't put them away and finish the game off.
"We can take some positives out of it. You can't fault the spirit and the effort that was shown, to keep on going against very physical opponents a man light — that was pleasing.
"Also, to create the opportunities we did after the break shows that we had the right intention but our execution left something to be desired and we'll have to look at that.
"On another day we'd have taken one of those chances and be talking about a win, but that isn't any comfort for us."