Ospreys told to keep cool head in heat of battle
THE Ospreys have told their players to ‘cool it’ after the indiscipline that blighted the region’s opening game of the Pro12 season.
Ian Evans is booked for a disciplinary hearing in Edinburgh tomorrow afternoon in the wake of being sent off against Treviso at the Monigo Stadium.
Two yellow cards in the opening 32 minutes did for the Wales second row in Italy — the first for a professional foul, the second for a high tackle. But he wasn’t alone in stepping out of line as the champions handed Treviso full-back Kris Burton five penalty shots in the first half alone.
The Ospreys’ coaches were less than impressed and have urged their players to avoid incurring the wrath of the officials in the game with Ulster at the Liberty on Saturday evening.
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“We have to improve our discipline,” said assistant coach Gruff Rees.
“Sometimes you know you’re going away from home to face a tough, physical challenge. The boys rightly build themselves up to a level where they want to be aggressive.
“They want to play in the opposition’s faces and push them back. We have done that successfully in the past.
“But you also need a degree of emotional control. We just crossed the line poorly last weekend.
“So many of the infringements were soft ones to give away.
“It’s about having the right balance between being in the right physical state and having a degree of coldness in terms of your general mindset. We need to have more composure about us.
“Last week, our general composure was poor. Once we learned that defensively we were in control of things, when we didn’t over-commit and bite on things, we settled down as a team, had more possession and attacking sets in the right areas of the field. But the balance was wrong for the first 30.”
The Ospreys will hope the independent disciplinary panel rules Evans’s sending off to be sufficient punishment.
The hearing will be chaired by John Kirk, with fellow Scot Paul Minto and Dr Barry O’Driscoll, of Ireland, making up the committee.
The first card shown to Evans by John Lacey in Treviso looked harsh, with the lock being dispatched to the cooler for appearing to play the ball on the ground at a breakdown in the Italians’ half. There didn’t appear to have been any prior warning that he was ready to reach into his pocket.
The tackle that saw Evans cautioned for a second time was clumsy. “Ian was caught in the wrong position when he made that challenge,” said Rees.
“The speed of confrontation and collision made it look worse than it was. But he was a victim of the first incident more than anything.
“In some ways, Lacey had no option. But it was also in line with our general ineptitude and looseness across the board in that first 30. Those incidents magnified things.”