Ospreys coach Steve Tandy relishes fresh Northampton test

Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy saw his side return to the top of the Pro12 table
Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy saw his side return to the top of the Pro12 table
European Rugby Champions Cup: Ospreys v Northampton Saints
Venue: Liberty Stadium, Swansea Date: Sunday, 18 January Kick-off 17:30 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, Radio 5 live sports extra and the BBC Sport website

Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy is looking forward to a change of competition after beating Newport Gwent Dragons 22-11 to top the Pro12 table.

The Welsh region host Northampton Saints in Pool 5 of the European Champions Cup on Sunday, 18 January.

"It's a different competition which is great for us," Tandy said.

"It's been a long old period over Christmas and is telling on a small squad, a young squad. It has taken its toll."

Ospreys are third in Pool 5 with eight points after four rounds, seven behind leaders Saints and six behind Racing Metro, and Tandy admits it will be a difficult task to qualify from that position.

"It's pretty slim if I'm honest, but we always want to win games and playing Northampton we've got to put a performance in," Tandy said.

"They did a good job on us up there, but we've got to be excited about the challenge.

"The freshness of playing Northampton here in Europe is going to be exciting and we can't wait."

While Tandy was pleased with the win over Dragons, courtesy of a Tyler Ardron try and five Dan Biggar penalties, the coach feels the performance was not all it should have been.

"It was a little bit patchy, but it was another good win for us at home," Tandy added.

"We probably had a couple more opportunities to turn the screw and we didn't really do that."

Tandy felt some of the match officials' decisions, particularly at the scrums, were "indifferent" and that the game's many stoppages also disrupted his side.

Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones:
"The quality of player at nine and 10 for the Ospreys has been the difference between them being mid-table and top of the league. Biggar and young Webb are fantastic players."

He added: "It's something that slows the game down and we wanted it a little bit quicker, but ultimately we've got our own end where we turned the ball over a few times too many."

While Tandy had hoped for a better show from his side, Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones praised the Ospreys half-back partnership of Biggar and Rhys Webb.

"We've got a young group here and we come up against teams that are top of the league and they don't make many errors," Jones said.

"The quality of player at nine and 10 for the Ospreys has been the difference between them being mid-table and top of the league.

"Biggar and young Webb are fantastic players who do everything correctly and they don't make any errors."

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