Thursday, 17 September 2009

Johnson wants more from his Ospreys

Scott Johnson says the buck stops with him at the Liberty Stadium, and that it is time to turn things around against Leinster on Friday.

The high-profile Australian coach suffered his first defeat in charge of the Welsh region against Ulster last weekend since his high-profile appointment in the summer.

And Johnson, who heard boos ringing around the Liberty Stadium at the end of a dismal display said: There are no excuses. We are disappointed with the game and the way we played. There's no other way of saying it.

"We are a coaching team but the buck stops with me. The decisions that get made are in the best interests of that team and we make them as a team sitting in the coaching box.

"But if there is any dispute, I will make the final call."

The star-studded Ospreys face reigning Heineken Cup champions Leinster at the Liberty Stadium tomorrow night (Fri).

Leinster coach Michael Cheika has admitted he is expecting a backlash in Swansea but Johnson insists it will take time to shape his star-studded side.

Johnson added: "If I knew the answer as to why it went wrong, I'd be a wealthy man. It’s not where we want to be, but we will get there.

"We could have taken the easy route and got on with things as usual. We're trying to move in a different direction and find an identity and it will take a little bit longer than we thought. But we are attempting to create something that is ours."

The Ospreys are expected to hand Irishman Tommy Bowe his first start of the season while British Lions lock Alun Wyn Jones is also set to return.

Leinster Defence Coach Kurt McQuilkan said that his side need to step up to the mark id they are to overcome a skilful and strong Ospreys unit.. "The Ospreys are an outstanding with speed, power and skill across their pack and backline," he said.

"In (Jerry) Collins, (Filo) Tiatia and Ryan Jones they have a really physical back-row presence who will come right up at you in midfield. Then take someone like Mike Phillips who is a key man for them. He likes to probe around the fringes and is another big presence and with players of the calibre of Jonny Vaughton, Tommy Bowe and Shane Williams out wide they have serious pace which we will need to contend with.

"Even though they will have been disappointed with their defeat to Ulster last time out, they remain serious contenders for the title and we know that we will need to raise our performance levels to get a result. It just shows how wide open the competition is this year."

"There was no resting on our laurels over the summer and though last year went well, with the way teams scout each other nowadays you can't sit back on past success. We've got to continue to hammer home the basics and keep adding things to your armoury. Something that I've been really impressed with over the last few months is the positive approach that the players have made in training. Their heads are screwed on and they're striving to improve, demanding more and more of the coaches and of themselves which is helping to build a strong culture.


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