Connacht claimed a decisive away victory over the Ospreays, but Andy Friend was scathing about certain aspects of his side’s performance.

Ireland were down 12-0 before the clock reached ten minutes, with Hugh Sutton and Reuben Morgan-Williams scoring tries for Ospreay. But with Alex Wootton, Kaolin Blade and John Porch leading Connacht in a try, they showed great character and pulled them back into the game. Outhalf Jack Carty’s spike also contributed to his seven points.

Sam Parry scored a try for the hosts with ten minutes remaining, but Connaught held on to secure four match points. More than anything, it was a relief to Friend, who was upset that his teammates had wasted their chances.

“Our performance lacked the clinical part that we wanted,” said Connaught’s rugby director.

“There have been a lot of battles. They are brave and driven men, and fighting is a great trait, but we make life very difficult for ourselves.

“We had 6 entries on 22 in the first 25 minutes due to zero returns and were flipped each time.

“In conclusion, I am happy with the win but not with the performance. We had a really tricky start but we need to improve in key parts of the game.

“I have no doubt that we will fix them and make them better, but the break came at a good time to evaluate, address issues and see if changes need to be made.”

To all Friends’ frustration, it was an important win for Connaught, who finished 12th in the United Rugby Championship table, just two points away from the play-off places. Friend hasn’t lost hope that Connacht can be a title contender this season, but admits he’s way off the pace at the moment.

“The away win with the Osprey definitely helped us ensure we got back to where we wanted to be: the Top 8,” said Friend.

“We want to make the playoffs and be title contenders. Losing to the Ospreay would have been a disaster.

“We will definitely win, but we have a lot of work to do before we can seriously consider being a title contender.

“I knew before the fight how important it was to win the Ospreay.”

Osprey – M Nagy; L Morgan, T Thomas Wheeler, K Williams, K Giles. J Walsh, R Morgan Williams. R Henry (G Phillips 55), S Baldwin (S Parry 55), T Botha (B Warren 55), R Davis (J Regan 73), H Sutton, E Roots, H Deeves (T Davis 40), M Morris.Connacht – T O’Halloran (A Bahn 36), A Wootton (T Daily 70), T Farrell, D Hawkshaw, J Porch. J Curty, C Blade (K Marmion 63); D Buckley (J Duggan 50), D Tierney Martin (G Stewart 50), J Aungje (S Iro 50), O Dowling, G Thornbury (D Murray 39), S Harley Langton, C Oliver, J Butler.

reference – S glove white.

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