The Munster side announced today for the Magners League semi-final shows nine changes, two of those positional, from the side selected for the game against Connacht last time out.
The positional changes sees young Danny Barnes wear the 13 shirt this time around as opposed to the 12 he wore against Connacht while with Donncha O’Callaghan restored to the second row Donnacha Ryan moves to the back row to the exclusion of Denis Leamy.
Munster: F Jones; D Howlett, D Barnes, L Mafi, K Earls; R O’Gara, C Murray; M Horan, D Varley, J Hayes, D O’Callaghan, P O’Connell (capt), D Ryan, D Wallace, J Coughlan
Replacements: M Sherry, W du Preez, S Archer, D Leamy, N Ronan, P Stringer, P Warwick, S Zebo
Ospreys Director of Coaching, Scott Johnson, commented:
“It is all down to what happens on Saturday night, and the 80 minutes at Thomond Park. We’ve said all year that we wanted to defend our title, we’ve finished in the top four and now we’re at the business end of the season.
“It’s been an up and down time, a bit of a roller coaster, but every team has peaks and troughs over the course of a season, that’s inevitable. It’s always going to be the case. We’ve had some pretty good peaks, and over 22 games we’ve earned a place in the play-offs and we don’t want to waste that hard work and effort now.
“We will have to lift our game from where it’s been in recent weeks, but preparation hasn’t been about kneejerk reactions. We’ve made sure that the guys know what they’ve got to do, know their roles, and have the confidence and belief to really enjoy the challenge.
“It’s big games like that being involved in professional rugby is all about. It’ll be a real test alright, but we know plenty about Munster just like they know plenty about us. I can see it being a real arm wrestle, but it’s a really exciting prospect. Preparation has been good, but once they step onto the paddock it’ll be all about which team handles the pressure best.”
Ospreys: R Fussell; T Bowe, A Bishop, J Hook, N Walker; D Biggar, R Webb; P James, H Bennett, A Jones, I Gough, AW Jones (capt), R Jones, J Tipuric, J Thomas
Replacements: R Hibbard, R Bevington, C Griffiths, J Collins, T Smith, M Holah, T Isaacs, A Beck
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