After the hammering Leinster gave their Welsh colleagues last night in Dublin, Ospreys would need a runaway victory over Munster tonight at the Liberty Stadium if they’re to return to the head of affairs in the RaboDirect PRO12.
They may be without their internationals but still feel confident enough to leave the likes of Cai Griffiths, George Stowers and Sonny Parker on the bench with their Forwards Coach Jonathan Humphreys acknowledging the role this group have played in the competition to date.
“ They’ve worked hard, they’ve been playing for the cause and they’ve been getting results.” he said before conceding. ” This however, will be the toughest test for them yet, no doubt about it, given the circumstances of the game.
“But they’ve shown already that they are prepared to front up and wear the shirt with pride. They are going to have to do that again tonight and hopefully they’ll be able to send our supporters home happy.”
The circumstances Humphreys refers to concern the unavailability of their internationals who are involved this weekend with national squads but Munster are also shy internationals and this evening start the game with skipper Paul O'Connell on the bench beside Ronan O'Gara.
In the absence of O'Connell from the starting XV Peter O'Mahony leads the side wearing the number 8 jersey with Denis Leamy on the blindside.
Donncha O'Callaghan and Marcus Horan – wins his 200th cap tonight – are the only two retained in the pack from last weekend but little should be read into that as the rotation policy has worked extremely well so far.
Games between the sides have never been less than close run affairs and tonight's promises to be no different.
Munster: D Hurley; D Howlett, W Chambers, D Barnes, S Zebo; I Keatley, T O’Leary; M Horan, D Varley, BJ Botha; D O’Callaghan, D Ryan; D Leamy, N Ronan, P O’Mahony capt. Replacements: D Fogarty, W du Preez, S Archer, P O’Connell, J Coughlan, C Murray, R O’Gara, J Murphy.
Ospreys: B Davies; T Bowe, A Bishop, A Beck, R Fussell; M Morgan, R Webb; D Jones, R Hibbard, A Jarvis; I Gough, J Thomas; T Smith capt, J King, J Bearman. Replacements: M Davies, C Griffiths, J Rees, G Stowers, S Lewis, T Isaacs, S Parker, H Dirksen.