Friday, 5 October 2012

Ospreys Season Review so far

Quick-Fire questions

Most valuable player this season

– For me this would have to be either Ryan Jones who as soon as he returned really inspired the Ospreys all round against Scarlets, or perhaps Hanno Dirksen because he looks so dangerous with ball in hand. Small mention to Rhys Webb/Ashley Beck and Justin Tipuric who are also rising stars.

Overall season predictions for my side

-I think the Ospreys will start to come good right about now and will definitely be in the top 4 mix in the RaboDirect Pro12 this season although a tough European pool really means they will have to perform spectacularly to even get a second placed finish, solidarity is key this season

Top points scorers/try scorers
I think you can’t look any further than the Irish sides at the moment as being top points scorers not only do they have the power and pace to break through sides but they also have the composure with the boot to finish them off so expect Sexton and O Gara to be up there. Although the Scarlets always score tries and often good ones so you would probably bet on them to be up there with try scorers just simply look at the backlines if you were a betting person.

RaboDirect PRO12 winners
Really difficult to put an answer on this one due to the fact there’s so many sides who are going to be in the mix come the business end of the season but I think this could be the year of Ulster/Leinster with both sides determined to do one better than last season although I’m hoping the Ospreys have something to say about that if they click consistently although that could be said about most sides including the Scottish as well.

Ospreys- Season review

A new season awaits from the boys in black from South-West Wales and after the success of winning the RaboDirect Pro12 trophy last season at Dublin once again there was an element of excitement building at stadium Liberty. Hanno Dirksen, Richard Fussell, Dan Biggar, Ashley Beck provided the youth and talent with the old guard of Alyn Wyn Jones, Adam Jones, Ryan Jones and even the departing Paul James giving even more success in such a fruitful tournament.

This season began away to Treviso which is by no means a simple fixture these days. A ferocious Italian pack mixed with difficult weather  culminated in a night to forget for the Ospreys. It was blistery winds so just catching the ball proved tricky at the best of times, add that to the sending off of Ian Evans for two successive yellow cards left the team with 50 minutes to play with 14 men which is no mean feat. The Ospreys were still the better side on the night and missed a few chances but it just wasn’t to be and to move on, final score 12-6.

Next up came home fixtures against Ulster and Glasgow which are both tricky ties considering the fact both sides were in the top 4 last season. The home side were keen to address the issues of last week but once again indiscipline was another concern and despite an early try from Dirksen it was the scrum that was an issue and some lineout problems too meant that despite dominating the game for large periods they lost out to a late try from Paul Marshall moments from the end which means Steve Tandy and co had to settle for another losing bonus point.

Glasgow next and the atmosphere felt a little dampened after two opening defeats  and a Glasgow side came to play in the next round and essentially put the Ospreys to the sword with a clinical display of power and precision and despite a second half comeback it was inconsistency and discipline that was really lacking in the home ranks. A final score of 28-10 reflected how easy the game was made by Glasgow, stick to the basics and the rewards will come.

The last two games have been against with all respect due even tougher opponents. Rivals Scarlets away and Munster at home who are no short odds. The Ospreys put in the performance of the season and at no better time as they were really under the cosh. The battle of the fly halves was won by Dan Biggar and the introduction of the returning Ryan Jones give the Ospreys not only a late winning score but the inspiration they were lacking.

Munster at home always a tough one but confidence rocketed after the Scarlets game and they came out as 30-15 winners much due to the control of Dan Biggar, the backline beginning to click and the forwards really illustrating grit and determination of the highest order.

Also condolences to Ulster for their loss of Nevin Spence and his brother/father. A great player in the making and will be sorely missed by all in the rugby community.

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