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Jones: Tandy’s ‘no frills’ approach the key

Guinness PRO12 Editor

8 May 2012


Ospreys lock Alun Wyn Jones admits his side’s simplified game plan under new head coach Steve Tandy has been the key reason for their fine late-season form in the RaboDirect PRO12.

Last weekend the Welsh region secured second place in the table with a win over Aironi, setting up a mouth-watering semi-final clash with Munster at the Liberty Stadium on Friday.

That victory on Italian soil was their fifth win in a row, three of which have come on the road, an impressive return to form since Tandy’s appointment in February.

And Jones was not short of praise for the former Ospreys flanker, who replaced former head coach Sean Holley and has presided over six wins from his first eight RaboDirect PRO12 games in charge.

“There are a lot of frills that can come with sport, but Steve has done away with them. He just gets on with it,” Jones told the South Wales Evening Post.

“We were in a situation where our form early in the season was pretty good. It did dip and then we had that reshuffle in our coaching staff. Sometimes, a change can throw a team for better or worse.

“But Steve came in, took some stuff away and we've improved off the back of that, simplifying our game-plan, knuckling down and it's paid dividends.

“Over the years, Munster have demonstrated what playing with a simplified game-plan means. If you have the ball and the opposition haven't got it, they can't score and you are in the driving seat. It's pretty much as simple as that.

“Steve came through the coaching ranks at Bridgend, was blooded with Johnno (Scott Johnson) and Sean (Holley) and given an opportunity early on.

“It would be interesting to see where we'd be now if he hadn't had that opportunity.”

Jones’ attention now turns to Friday’s crunch encounter against defending RaboDirect PRO12 champions Munster.

The Irish outfit appear likely to be without the totemic figure of Paul O’Connell after he went off injured in their clash with Ulster but Jones insists that there is no chance of complacency creeping into their game.

“He's obviously a big loss to Munster, but they have second rows who have been interchangeable this season and even a talisman doesn't make a team,” he added.

“He's huge to them, but they have a lot of other players who can step into the breach. The team are called Munster, not Paul O'Connell — we're very aware of that.

“They are experienced at winning trophies, not just in the PRO12 league, but in Europe as well. We are well aware of the calibre of player and experience they have in their squad.”