Some key half-time messages according to Ospreys acting backs coach Richard Fussell was what proved pivotal in the Ospreys 41-7 victory over Cardiff Blues in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Friday night.
With the game delicately poised at 7-7 at the break, Ospreys scored four tries in the second half to secure a bonus point victory but they were aided by the sending off of Blues prop Anton Peikrishvili.
With the home side down to 14 men, Brendon Leonard, Tom O’Flaherty (2) and Dan Evans were all able to cross the whitewash as the Ospreys put in a much improved second half display.
“I think we didnt mange the game well in that midle zone we may have over played a little bit.” said Fussell.
Richard Fussell, Acting Backs Coach, speaks to Ospreys TV after tonight’s win. pic.twitter.com/u6nt5RH3jR
— Ospreys (@ospreys) November 18, 2016
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“But we got some key messages into the players and then ended up playing in the right areas which put us on the front foot and gave us those opportunities to score.
“You saw in the last 15 minutes of the game that the red card took its toll on Cardiff but what we did well was put the squeeze on them. We went to our favourable options and put them under pressure and turned that into points.
“There was some good performances on the field this evening, notably some of the youngsters like Phil Jones and James Ratti, who came off the bench, I think they put in a good performance and helped us get the win in the end.”
Rhondri Davies first half try for the hosts had allowed them to cancel out Scott Otten’s very early try for the Ospreys but with a man missing they struggled to keep a foot hold in the game.
The attendance tonight is 4,094 – thank you to everyone who has braved the cold
— Cardiff Blues (@cardiff_blues) November 18, 2016
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Second row James Down explained that the mood was confident at the break with the Blues optimistic that they could earn their first Anglo-Welsh Cup win of the season.
He said: “It’s hard to take because the feeling at half-time was pretty good, especially defensively. We had held them for 19 phases just before half-time.
“We were going out there with a positive attitude in the second-half, but unfortunately, if you go a man down with that amount of time to go then it is quite hard to compete for that long.
“It led to a couple of tries after that. It’s frustrating. But, as a professional player, you’ve got to get on with it and react.
“You’ve just got to compete and get back in the game, but unfortunately we couldn’t do that.”
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Cardiff Blues: Fish, Lane Botham (55), Allen, Smith (Millard 67), Williams, Jones, Davies (Blacker 65), Thayer (Carre 67), Rees (Belcher 55), Peikrishvili, Hoeata (Lewis 55), Down, Cook (Davies 41), Lewis-Hughes, Sheekey (Barnes 41).
Ospreys: Howells, Grabham (Evans 32), Thomas, Spratt, Walker (O’Flaherty 19), Jones, Leonard, Thomas (Parry 55), Otten (James 55), Jones (Fia 46), Beard (Ratti 66), Thornton, Cracknell, Underhill (Bearman 45), McCusker (c).
Replacements not used: Aubrey
Conversion: B Jones
Tries: Otten, Leonard, O’Flaherty (2), Evans
Conversions P Jones (3)
Referee: Ben Whitehouse