Ospreys boss Booth says stunning French win has set the benchmark for festive URC derbies
Ospreys boss Toby Booth says his team’s emotional Heineken Champions Cup win out in Montpellier has set the benchmark ahead of the BKT United Rugby Championship festive derbies.
Booth’s men pulled off a stunning 21-10 victory away to the French title holders thanks to tries from hooker Sam Parry, centre Kieran Williams and Player of the Match No 8 Morgan Morris.
It’s handed them a huge boost in morale as they prepare for the BKT URC Boxing Day clash at home to the Scarlets and then the New Year’s Day trip to the Arms Park to take on Cardiff Rugby.
They had won just one game all season going into Saturday night’s Euro encounter at the GGL Stadium and Montpellier were 25-1 on favourites with some bookies. Such was the scale of a triumph that sent shockwaves through the competition.
Head coach Booth said: “To get some momentum back in our season is really important. It’s been a massive emotional rollercoaster for a lot of people. It’s been more up and down than we’d like. Everyone knows that.
“But we are hopeful this is a benchmark performance we can build on. The adrenaline of victory often carries you through dark times, so I am pleased that we have got something to trade on. Nothing beats winning. We are here to win.
“We’ve got two Welsh derbies now, then Leinster and then back into Europe. The treadmill keeps on rolling, but this is a massive shot in the arm for confidence and belief in what we are doing.
“I’m just pleased for the boys and the supporters because there’s been a lot of toil and effort. To get the right side of the result and turn that corner is great.
“People care about it. We invest a lot of effort and time. I was emotional about it, for sure. Sport is emotive. Everyone loves it for all that drama. I know what people have put in to get a result. I am super pleased for them.”
The landmark win out in France saw the Ospreys bounce back from a disappointing defeat at home to Leicester in their opening Champions Cup fixture.
“We worked very hard to get into the competition. This is what we aimed for. We ended up getting the English champions and the French champions,” said Booth.
“Montpellier is a very difficult place to go. They are a very physical side. You don’t win the Top 14 by accident.
“There was an arm wrestle and we fought tooth and nail to combat that. We were on the back foot at times, but we found a way. Good teams find a way and we have got some good players.
“It was a team defence and an attitude of ‘We’re not going to give you anything for free’. We stood steadfast and that was the most impressive thing. People performed, which was great. I am so proud of them for their attitude and what they’ve gone through to get to this.”
Ranking it alongside other notable successes during his 13-year career with the Ospreys, skipper Justin Tipuric said: “Considering the circumstances, going in without a win for such a long time, it will be up there. It’s special to get one over the French champions. They are such a good opposition and to go over there and get a win is obviously something we are happy with.
“It was a good team performance and something for us to build on now for the rest of the season. We can’t just have the one good win. We’ve got to try and get a bit of momentum now.
“That’s the standard we want to be at and it’s a standard we don’t want to go below. We’ve got to keep pushing on to try and get more wins. It’s about consistency and backing up week-in, week-out.
“We’re not getting carried away with it. It’s a good win, but we have a lot to work on. We’ll enjoy it and hopefully push on for Boxing Day against the Scarlets. That’s obviously one of the big days in the calendar that everyone looks forward to.”
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