Richard Hibbard fired up as Ospreys seek redemption against Northampton Saints in Heineken Cup
RICHARD Hibbard insists the Ospreys are refusing to see themselves as dead men walking in the Heineken Cup.
The Welsh region's European hopes for the season suffered a hugely damaging blow when Leinster won 19-9 defeat at the Liberty.
But Hibbard struck a defiant note by suggesting the former Pro12 champions were capable of fashioning an improbable turnaround and still having a say in the outcome of Pool 1.
"No side is definitely out until December, so it isn't over for us yet," said the hooker, as prominent as anyone in the Welsh side's opening pool encounter.
"We can go away and get two wins.
"We could not have made a worse start, but it's still doable."
It will be no easy task, however, with a hugely challenging mission on Sunday when Hibbard and Co head for Franklin's Gardens to take on Northampton Saints. Defeat there and the Ospreys will be effectively finished in the competition.
Saints recruited Kahn Fotuali'i, George North and Alex Corbisiero in the summer and are rated one of England's strongest sides, but Hibbard reckons there are grounds for believing the Ospreys should stay positive.
"Hopefully, we'll take away Northampton's platform and Kahn and Big George won't get much ball," said Hibbard.
"So we need to step up at forward.
"Even though I don't think we were beaten up front by Leinster, we are a senior pack and we need to take things by the scruff of the neck and provide some go-forward for our backs."
He continued: "We still believe in ourselves and how good we can be. I'm positive and definitely think we can do it against Northampton.
"But there is no point just talking about it. We have to go there and let our rugby do the talking.
"We know they're a good side. They've been strong in the Premiership so far and have a good squad and a good pack, with George (North) and Kahn (Fotuali'i) behind, so it could be an even tougher day in the office. We will not be able to play as we did against Leinster if we are to get anything."
The first challenge for the Ospreys will be to stop making it hard for themselves. Twice they spurned penalty shots at goal against Leinster and a try chance went begging when an overlap wasn't exploited, with Hibbard charging for the line himself.
"We weren't clinical and ended up beating ourselves," said Hibbard. "First we messed up that chance with myself, then we let the scrum a couple of minutes later get away from us. You can't do that at this level because it is so costly."