Filo Tiatia expects the Ospreys to put in another gritty 80 minutes when they face Leinster at the RDS on Friday night.
The top of the table clash rounds off a busy week for the region, which has seen the squad travel to San Sebastian to face Biarritz in last weekend’s Heineken Cup quarter-final, before back to back games in Ireland.
Going into the Leinster game buoyed by a bonus point victory over Ulster on Tuesday that moved the Ospreys up into second place and well into contention for the play-offs, former All Black Tiatia says that the Ospreys will have no difficulty in lifting themselves for a third battle in just seven days. He said:
"Having another tough match straight away gives you a good opportunity to build some momentum and take something forward from game to game
"I think we all enjoyed Tuesday night’s performance. It was the perfect response from the boys, of course it was, and it was important that we showed that we had the spirit and belief to do react so positively. We were all disappointed last weekend, but we had to put that behind us. You want to perform as good as you can when you pull on the Ospreys jersey, it means a lot to us all, and I think we showed that against a pretty gritty Ulster side.
"We’ve spent some time reviewing the game and looking at what we did well and what areas we can improve on for Friday night. That’s been the main task this week, making sure that we review our performances and our opponents properly, it’s been all about ensuring the preparation has been right."
The Ospreys have taken the step of basing themselves at the La Mon Hotel near Belfast, staying in Ireland for the week instead of travelling back and forth for the two games, and Tiatia says that the extra preparation time gained has had a positive impact:
"It certainly helps" he said.
"I’d say that you saw a pretty gritty team performance on Tuesday night, and that’s what we are going to need on Friday as well. We have to maintain the same standards and level of performance, the benchmark has been set now and we have to live up to that.
"The last two games are been and gone now. We are playing against a good side on Friday night, against the Heinken Cup champions and current league leaders, and then next week it’s the Magners League champions Munster. That’s the challenge that is in front of us now. Historically we haven’t won very often out in Leinster, so you would say that there is a small mountain for us to climb before we can secure a play-off place but it’s definitely achievable and that is what we’ve been focussing on."
With such a busy schedule, the Ospreys coaching team have made full use of their travelling party, making a handful of changes each game to ensure the squad stays fresh, and Tiatia says it is important that those coming into the starting line-up, like himself on this occasion, step up to the plate.
"It’s always the same at this time of the year, games come thick and fast and you need to make use of your squad. You can’t play three games in a week with just 22 players. Because of the schedule we’ve done things a little differently than usual and it’s been good. We certainly brought over a big squad to provide the coaches with options, and it’s about boys taking their chances.
"We talk about taking opportunities on the pitch, and a busy time like this provides an opportunity for boys to really show that they are an Osprey. On Tuesday night the boys who came in showed what it is about and I’d expect the boys who have freshened up the squad to have a similar impact."