Scott Johnson refused to blame referee Nigel Owens for Ospreys’ defeat at the hands of Scarlets, instead pointing the finger at his front line.
The relationship between Johnson and Owens in the build-up to the Boxing Day clash was already fraught with the Ospreys boss criticising the official’s use of Twitter to engage with players and fans.
And Johnson’s mood failed to improve as he watched his side go down 22-14 to Scarlets, failing to provide Adam Jones the celebration his 150th Ospreys appearance deserved.
But rather than stir the pot with Owens any more, Johnson admitted the blame for his side’s loss lies firmly with his players.
“The first line of my supposed tirade (last week) was the referee will not contribute to the winning or losing of this game,” said Johnson, who announced he will be leaving his post at Ospreys at the end of the season.
“And it’s the same answer. The referee did not contribute to us winning or losing that game.
“We didn’t hold the ball when we needed to. We let ourselves down. We had field position and we didn’t come away with the points that we needed.
“After somewhat of a slow start, we showed good endeavour and got back into the game.
“For a period of about 15 or so minutes we had the game at our mercy really, but we lost a couple of opportunities.
“We had a couple of scrums down on their line which didn’t go our way and we didn’t convert the points.
“I’ve given up talking about scrums.
“We’ve supposedly got the best tighthead in Europe, the best scrummaging hooker in Europe and probably one of the best scrummaging looseheads in Europe.
“I like scrums when one and one equal two and at the moment it’s making about 14 and it ain’t working for me.
“We are not getting the reward for what we see as the dominance in our game.”