Toby Booth: Ospreys head coach concerned over rugby product



Ospreys are third and sixth respectively in Conference A in the Pro14
Ospreys are third and sixth respectively in Conference A in the Pro14

Ospreys head coach Toby Booth says he is concerned about rugby’s on-field product after his side’s drab 10-0 victory over Zebre .

Ospreys claimed their seventh win in eight games in all competitions as Rhys Webb scored the only try at the Liberty Stadium.

But after a turgid Pro14 contest, Booth admitted the match and performance were disappointing.

“I am concerned. Let’s be clear about it,” said Booth.

“Winning really matters and that’s the currency coaches keep or lose their jobs over and that’s important.

“But where we are going and the style of play and how we want to get there is directly linked to that journey.”

Rugby’s top leagues are without their international players because of the Six Nations, while Ospreys had not played for a month before facing Zebre.

This season’s Pro14 has been curtailed, with a final being held on the last weekend of March between the two conference winners

Pro14 bosses are formulating a new tournament from 2021-22 which includes the top four South African sides and will see fewer clashes between club and national games.

The Rainbow Cup will be staged between April and July as a precursor to the new league structure.

Rhys Webb can only control his Ospreys performance – Toby Booth

Booth says conversations are ongoing about having more league fixtures that do not fall at the same time as internationals and admits quality is important.

“On the whole, watching the Premiership and the Pro14 this weekend, ultimately you can see when lots of quality comes out of squads and (you have) lots of change and gaps in playing programmes, you get a different product,” said Booth.

“That’s part of the issues that we as coaches have to overcome and how we prepare squads and depths of squads are important to sustain the quality of the product.

“Every coach wants the best resources available to them to produce the most competitive performance they can and get a good product at the end of it.

“These conversations have been knocking around and the time of year we play is as much a factor as the quality.

“We have to understand all the factions, it is a very multi-layered thing that is difficult. When the fans are allowed back in they want to watch good rugby and their best players.

“We need to make sure where we can, those overlaps are as minimal as they can be.”



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