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We must sharpen up to cut down Ospreys, says Reidy

 

By Jonathan Bradley

Ulster's Sean Reidy has warned the side they must cut out the errors if they are to have any hope of forcing their way back into the Guinness PRO12's top four and book a play-off spot.

The province have failed to win either of their last two games and are now fifth in the table with only a pair of league encounters remaining to regain the inside track for a semi-final berth.

Having undone much of their good work with sloppy errors in the narrow defeat to Munster in Thomond Park last weekend, Reidy has said such avoidable mistakes must be eradicated if they are to beat teams in the upper reaches of the PRO12, something they haven't managed with any regularity in recent seasons.

With the trip to Ospreys a week on Saturday in the Liberty Stadium now a high stakes battle, with both sides putting their play-off hopes on the line, there can't be a repeat of last weekend's slip ups.

"Without a doubt we made too many mistakes, especially against a side like Munster," said the flanker, whose own contribution to the cause this season has been both impressive and consistent.

"It was pretty disappointing because a lot of emotion went into the week. We knew we had to go down there and turn up if we were going to beat Munster but we didn't finish off those green zone efforts with a few dropped balls, a few handling errors, and that let Munster back into the game.

"It was a pretty good step up in terms of emotion and physicality from the Cardiff game.

"We talked last week about doing justice to the jersey and for the most part we did, it was just a few little bits and pieces that let us down and that we have to cut out."

But while Ulster may be lacking in momentum after recent dropped points, Ospreys are in something of a tailspin.

The Welsh region have lost four on the spin in all competitions, exiting Europe and having their top four ambitions seriously dented after a run of poor form kick-started by losing to lowly Treviso.

Reidy, however, refuses to believe the Swansea based side won't improve with the season on the line.

"Look, Ospreys have been playing some pretty good footie," he stressed. "They've just had a bit of a slip up over the last few games.

"We know what they're like and we're not going to take it lightly. It's all or nothing."

With such sizeable implications riding on the contest, Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy has himself called for an "attitude shift" next time out.

"Ultimately we've got to have an attitude shift if we're going to have any chance against Ulster," he said after watching his side be humbled at the hands of Welsh rivals Cardiff in the Principality Stadium on Saturday.

"There will definitely be a reaction in around that, in particular our training.

"I think there will be a lot of individual reviews of where we need to be."

Perhaps similarly to Ulster, there is a certain amount of relief that, for all the indifferent form, they are one win away from taking a huge step towards the play-offs.

With whoever wins 11 days from now sure to become the overwhelming favourite to secure the last of the semi-final spots, Tandy expects the two teams to go all out for victory.

"Miraculously, after losing three games on the bounce, we are still in the top four," he added.

"We've got three or four days now where we've got to take a long hard look at ourselves.

"I definitely think there will be a huge reaction against Ulster but it's going to be a quality Ulster team who will be desperate to knock us over.

"It's going to be a tight game and every game seems like a knock-out game now. We don't seem to be getting that right at this minute in time."

Meanwhile, former Ulster, Ireland and Lions lock Jeremy Davidson is set to coach the forwards at Bordeaux-Begles next season.

The 42-year-old will work with former Italy coach Jacques Brunel at the Stade Chaban Delmas, where Ulster played in this season's Champions Cup, having worked wonders on a shoestring budget at second-tier Aurillac who gave the Dungannon man their blessing to make the switch. He has signed a three year deal.

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