Stern Test Awaits In Ospreys
13th September 2017 By The Editor
Munster face their first away encounter of the all-new Guinness PRO14 this coming Saturday when they go head-to-head with Ospreys for the first time since last season’s league semi-final – Munster winning 23-3.
With two rounds played Munster and Ospreys, who both play in Conference A, lie in first and fourth respectively, the former recording back-to-back bonus point wins over Benetton Rugby and Cheetahs, and the latter recording a win in Zebre before suffering a comprehensive defeat away to Glasgow Warriors in round two.
Munster take big momentum in to Saturday’s clash and are in the midst of their best ever away record in the league, having won on each of their last eight trips away from home since losing to Leinster at the Aviva Stadium last October. Yet wins at the Liberty Stadium are never easy, Munster just shading it by a two-point margin in their last two trips to Swansea.
While Ospreys have won just two of their last eight home matches, the Welsh side often have the measure of the Irish provinces, their last home wins coming against Connacht in January and play-off chasing Ulster in April – neither side leaving with as little as a losing bonus point.
Munster’s last loss to Ospreys came in Cork in February 2016 and it was a case of unlucky thirteen as Steve Tandy’s men ended the province’s winning run in Irish Independent Park, slipping to their first defeat after twelve wins over three years on Leeside.
As Rassie Erasmus hinted earlier this week, Ospreys are a side laden with options and threats across the park. At 10 for example, Tandy can call upon two Welsh internationals in James Hook and Sam Davies. Elsewhere, fullback Dan Evans has beaten no less than nine defenders in the opening two rounds, while upfront, returning Lion Justin Tipuric is one of the league’s top poachers to date.
Munster have impressed this season, but the same cannot be said of their opponents thus far with Benetton Rugby and Cheetahs failing to fire in their respective trips to Irish Independent Park and Thomond Park.
However Ospreys will present a sterner test this weekend, as Duncan Williams alluded to when meeting with media this week.
“It’s always a tough and entertaining game over there, it always goes the full-80 and there’s never more than a couple of points in it. It’s always an especially good clash for neutrals. Ospreys are an excellent attacking side and can hit you from anywhere and we’ll need to be on top of our game.
“The pitch there is perfect, as are the facilities and dressing rooms and the crowd there always make it a good atmosphere. It’s up to us to channel that in the right way.”
Ospreys v Munster, Guinness PRO14 round three, Saturday September 16th at Liberty Stadium – ko 3.15pm.
This game will be televised live on Sky Sports and TG4.
Next Home Game
Munster return to home action against Cardiff Blues at Thomond Park on Saturday September 30th for a lunchtime kick-off, 1.30pm.
- Adults €20
- Juniors €7
- Families €40
Tickets can be purchased online here, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices at Irish Independent Park and Thomond Park, from Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling 061 421103.