Steve Tandy: Ospreys need to hit the ground running
STEVE Tandy says the Ospreys will use their opening pre-season game as an important yardstick ahead of the new campaign.
The former Pro12 champions face Worcester Warriors at the Liberty on Saturday afternoon.
Worcester have already played two friendlies this summer. The Ospreys will be without their five Lions, but Tandy plans to field his strongest side available and is hoping to learn from the encounter.
“It’s going to be a good contest and a real measure of where we are at,” he said.
“We’re all looking forward to it. We’re going up against a team who already have two games under their belt and that could make it all the more difficult.
“It’s an important building block to ensure we are ready for the trip to Treviso at the start of September. We’ll be taking this seriously and selecting the strongest team available once injury and conditioning requirements have been taken into account.”
Under new director of rugby Dean Ryan, Worcester started their summer programme with a 29-18 win over Rotherham Titans but came unstuck against the Blues, losing 21-17 at home.
They signed Jonathan Thomas from the Ospreys in the summer, a significant acquisition, and have another former Liberty player in Ed Shervington.
The Ospreys, meantime, have new arrivals to parade themselves, among them Tito Tebaldi and Aisea Natoga, and are looking to hit the ground running.
“It’s important we get what we need out of the game and we’ll be preparing as if it were a regular Pro12 match,” said Tandy.
“There’s nothing worse than a pre-season encounter without focus, because you don’t get anything out of it.
“Training has been going well, there’s a buzz about the environment and the boys are enjoying their pre-season.
“Saturday is when we really start to get down to business as it’s when the start of the new season becomes reality.
“We want a positive performance from the group that will kick-start us for the challenges ahead. It should be a good contest.
“Hopefully we’ll see plenty of supporters at the Liberty enjoying summer rugby on a Saturday afternoon.”
The Ospreys have faced Swansea, Neath, Aberavon and Bridgend in a series of opposed training sessions over the past month, with Tandy hoping those encounters will stand his side in good stead.