Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy rued the fact his team “didn’t throw more punches” to test Clermont Auvergne before going down 24-7 in France and crashing out of the Champions Cup.
When the Welsh region got back to 13-7 in the second half they were firmly in the hunt to claim a ticket to the quarter-finals.
That was as good as it got for the visitors, though, as Clermont closed out the game and earned themselves a home clash in the last eight.
“It was a huge effort coming away here to France, but there is real frustration that we didn’t make the most of the opportunities we created,” said Tandy.
“We had ins to the game, but we didn’t throw as many punches as we would have liked. We went down on the last day in an horrific pool.
“We felt relatively comfortable at half-time, but we missed some opportunities. We created some line breaks and we needed to be more clinical.
“We got into their half, but we didn’t really stress them and our turnover count was too high. There is definitely bitter frustration in the dressing room, but the players have been unbelievable given where we were at the start of the season.
“Even so, at 13-7 we felt we were in the game and they started to tire. I would have liked to have stressed them even more.”
Three times in the past Clermont have been beaten in the final, and Tandy believes there are a number of teams who can challenge them for the title.
“They have got an unbelievable squad – just look at their bench. They have firepower right throughout their game and it is an unbelievable environment and stadium and the crowd are fantastic,” said Tandy.
“But Leinster are pretty strong, the Scarlets are playing unbelievable rugby and so are Toulon, so who knows who is going to win the title.”