Playoff bid goes west as Ospreys fall again
STEVE Tandy blasted his players’ poor attitude as Ospreys were thrashed 35-17 by the Blues on Judgement Day - their first PRO12 defeat to the Cardiff side since 2010.
The result made it four straight defeats for the Ospreys, who looked devoid of ideas throughout.
Basic errors and an inability to retain possession cost Steve Tandy’s men dear and they look a far cry from the side so impressive in the first half of the season. They will now have to win both of their remaining PRO 12 games to secure a play-off spot and on this showing, that looks a tough ask.
Tandy said: “I definitely didn’t see that coming. We turned over about 70 per cent of our ball and the Blues dominated us at the breakdown. We didn’t show enough desire or attitude and you don’t often see that in an Ospreys’ changing room.
“There will be a lot of soul searching and reflection and I’m really deflated to see that kind of performance. We need an attitude shift if we are to challenge Ulster in our next game.
“We can’t hide from the disappointment – the basic elements of our game were nowhere to be seen.”
While the Ospreys played their part in their demise, the Blues were excellent with Gareth Anscombe a shining light. The Wales fly-half crossed for a try of his own in the second half, while Kristian Dacey, Lloyd Williams and Nick Williams all scored before the break.
Tau Filise, who turns 40 next month, scored the Blues’ fourth prior to Anscombe’s effort and although Dan Evans and Paul James grabbed late consolations, but there was no doubting who deserved to win. Anscombe added five conversions to guide his side home.
The Ospreys didn’t get going in the first half and allowed the Blues to cross for three simple scores.
First, Dacey dived over in the corner from the back of a ruck. Anscombe’s conversion bounced off the upright and went wide, but the kick was given by touch judges Sean Gallagher and Gwyn Morris.
Sam Davies narrowed the away deficit with a penalty, but close-range finishes from the two Williams’ put the Blues in total control. It was simple, but effective rugby from the Blues and two more conversions from impressive fly-half Anscombe gave them a healthy halftime lead.
Tandy’s side failed to make the most of Alex Cuthbert’s yellow card for taking out Dan Evans in the air prior to the break and the game was over as a contest by the hour mark.
Filise and Anscombe crossed within three minutes of each other and with the latter adding both sets of extras, the Blues were home and hosed. The final quarter saw the Ospreys
score through Evans and replacement forward James, but it was too little, too late despite Anscombe’s yellow for foul play.
Blues head coach Danny Wilson said: “It was a very good performance made even better by winning on such a big occasion.
“We fronted up physically and the Ospreys struggled to deal with that. We’d scored five tries by the 50th minute mark and to do that against a defence like that was pleasing.
“It’s a great reward for the supporters. This game had a cup final feel.”
Man-of-match: Gareth Anscombe dives in for Cardiff Blues