Misfiring Ospreys pack given Treviso warning
THE Ospreys pack have been warned they must toughen up or risk starting the RaboDirect Pro12 season with a defeat to Treviso.
An inexperienced Ospreys side were overpowered by Bath as they suffered a 27-10 friendly defeat at The Rec on Friday.
The scrum was a particular area of concern, where an experimental front row were overwhelmed by their Aviva Premiership opponents who were at full strength. Steve Tandy's men begin their Pro12 campaign on Saturday with a trip to Treviso, who pride themselves on their forward strength. And Gruff Rees, the Ospreys' assistant coach, has warned his players that a repeat of their performance at The Rec could spell disaster against the Italians. "We've got to fast-track to a certain degree because we can't be on the back foot for long periods like we were against Bath," he said.
"Treviso have got a driving game to match anyone in Europe so we know we're going to have to deal with it more effectively than we did against Bath.
"That's also a credit to Bath, who've developed their power game, but in terms of ourselves we've got to have a sharp training week and get in better condition for Treviso."
There were some positives for the Ospreys at The Rec, namely a superb team try finished by Ryan Bevington which saw them lead 10-8 at half-time. But Bath's dominance up front eventually paid dividends as they ran in four tries to complete a comfortable victory.
"We're disappointed with the scoreline because we don't like to go down that way, especially the way we did fall off a bit in the second half," Rees added.
"Bath had some power we couldn't deal with, and some backs to take advantage of that.
"That's disappointing but we're quite pleased with some of our processes, how we called our line-outs and we led at half-time. It was good for some youngsters to get game-time and for others to get up to speed.
"We have to look with one eye to next week and, as a squad, we're in pretty good health."
The defeat to Bath was a steep learning curve for Dmitri Arhip, the Ospreys' utility front-rower who had a hard time at tight-head against ex-Osprey Paul James.
Joe Rees could replace Arhip against Treviso but, in terms of blooding youngsters, Rees reckons the pre-season friendlies were worthwhile.
"It's a big learning experience for these forwards, firstly dealing with Bath itself and also some of the intricacies of the technical side," he said.
"We're not quite there yet and it's something we're going to have to get right quickly for next week against Treviso, who are equally as powerful up front.
"It will be a fair share of the boys involved against Bath who play against Treviso. Obviously they didn't deal with some aspects very well but it's a learning process."