Jump to main content


Magners Preview: Ulster v Ospreys

Magners Preview: Ulster v Ospreys

Will Ulster be able to end their recent run of bad form and give themselves some breathing space in the race to secure Heineken Cup qualification? Or can the Ospreys bounce back from that agonising semi-final defeat to Biarritz Olympique, just three days later?

MAGNERS LEAGUE: Tuesday, April 13

ULSTER (8th) v OSPREYS (5th), Ravenhill, 7.30pm (live Setanta Sports Ireland/S4C)

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

Team News: Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin has named his starting line-up and replacements for Tuesday’s refixed Magners League encounter with the Ospreys.

McLaughlin has have made four changes in personnel to the team that started the recent 33-24 defeat to the Cardiff Blues at Ravenhill.

Fijian winger Timoci Nagusa makes way in a rejigged back-line, with Paddy Wallace moving to full-back, Simon Danielli back on the left wing and Ian Whitten returning at centre alongside Darren Cave.

Up front, there are changes in all three lines. Bryan Young comes in for Declan Fitzpatrick at loosehead prop, Dan Tuohy is preferred to Ryan Caldwell in the second row and South African Robbie Diack will pack down at number 8.

Diack’s inclusion sees team captain Chris Henry move to the openside flanker position.

Ulster Academy member Nevin Spence, who was a key figure in the Ireland Under-20s’ Championship-winning side, could make his competitive debut for the province off the bench.

Meanwhile, the Ospreys make three changes to the side that lost 29-28 to Biarritz Olympique in the Heineken Cup quarter-final on Saturday.

Sonny Parker links up with James Hook at centre, with Andrew Bishop dropping to the bench.

The two switches in the pack see prop Ryan Bevington and lock Ian Gough earn starts. Paul James and Alun Wyn Jones, who both start against Biarritz, will provide back-up on the bench.

The Welsh region are based in Ireland this week as they also have a game against league leaders Leinster at the RDS on Friday. Both games are crucial for the play-off hopes of the Sean Holley-coached side who are currently fifth in the table.

Looking forward to Tuesday’s game, former Ulster winger Tommy Bowe, now a firm favourite with the Ospreys, said: “This will be my first game at Ravenhill in two years, it will be fantastic to get out there and play again.

“It will be very different from the last time I played there. I have been following Ulster’s progress all season, they came over to the Ospreys and beat us earlier in the season.

“They are playing some great rugby so we know it is going to be a really difficult match. I’m looking forward to playing against the boys and being involved, there should be a great atmosphere.”

ULSTER: Paddy Wallace; Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Ian Whitten, Simon Danielli; Niall O’Connor, Isaac Boss; Bryan Young, Rory Best, BJ Botha, Ed O’Donoghue, Dan Tuohy, Stephen Ferris, Chris Henry (capt), Robbie Diack.

Replacements: Andi Kyriacou, Tom Court, Ryan Caldwell, David Pollock, Paul Marshall, Ian Humphreys, Nevin Spence.

OSPREYS: Lee Byrne; Tommy Bowe, Sonny Parker, James Hook, Shane Williams; Dan Biggar, Mike Phillips; Ryan Bevington, Huw Bennett, Adam Jones, Ian Gough, Jonathan Thomas, Jerry Collins, Marty Holah, Ryan Jones (capt).

Replacements: Ed Shervington, Paul James, Alun Wyn Jones, Filo Tiatia, Jamie Nutbrown, Andrew Bishop, Nikki Walker.

Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: David Keane, Barry O’Keefe (both Ireland)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Ulster to win: 6/5; Draw: 20/1; Ospreys to win: 4/6

Pre-Match Quotes: Neil Doak (Ulster) – “With our last game against Cardiff providing a ten-day window to recover and prepare for the Ospreys on Tuesday night, it has given us the opportunity to get a few bodies back on board.

“We have to see how things work out with regards to fitness, but the aim is to push to win all the remaining games.

“We have two games at home and two away left, so we have got to make sure we are ready to put in a performance, in what is sure to be a very physical challenge on Tuesday.

“The Ospreys are on a mini-tour, they are out of the Heineken Cup, having narrowly lost to Biarritz on Saturday, so now they will be focused on getting a top four finish in the Magners League.

“We are expecting a high quality side to take the field on Tuesday and we have to be ready to make our home advantage count.

“If we can get a few early points on the board, then we can settle into the game and play a bit of rugby.”

Sean Holley (Ospreys) – “After the disappointment of Saturday, we’ve got to be professional and really show what we are made of by getting straight back into it.

“With two tough games this week (against Ulster and Leinster), we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve put ourselves in a position where we are challenging for one of the play-off spots, so our focus has to be on that now.

“It’s never easy going out to Ravenhill, where we can expect a passionate crowd and a side that will make life very difficult for us.

“We’ve shown in that past that we can win out there, and we know that’s what we’ve got to do if we want to reach the play-offs.

“We’ve everything to play for these next few weeks, and will be going to Ireland with a positive attitude.

“We can be proud of how we performed as a team against Biarritz, we went there looking to play a positive style of rugby, to keep the ball alive and I think we achieved that.

“We mustn’t allow ourselves to dwell on the defeat though. We have to take the disappointment and pain of that defeat, and use it to push us forward over the next few weeks and look to end the season on a high note.”

Top Scorers – 2009/10 Magners League: Ulster – Points: Ian Humphreys 100; Tries: Simon Danielli 5; Ospreys – Points: Dan Biggar 117; Tries: Tommy Bowe 6 


Saturday, January 27, 2007 – Ospreys 29 Ulster 22, Liberty Stadium 
Friday, September 21, 2007 – Ulster 17 Ospreys 16, Ravenhill 
Friday, March 28, 2008 – Ospreys 32 Ulster 7, Liberty Stadium 
Saturday, September 27, 2008 – Ospreys 43 Ulster 0, Liberty Stadium 
Friday, April 3, 2009 – Ulster 13 Ospreys 16, Ravenhill 
Saturday, September 12, 2009 – Ospreys 16 Ulster 20, Liberty Stadium


– Ulster have won just one of their last eight games in the Magners League, a 15-10 victory at home to Munster on January 2

– The Ulstermen’s 33-24 reversal to the Cardiff Blues last time out at Ravenhill ended a five-match unbeaten home run for the province in all competitions. Ulster have not beaten a Welsh team in four games in 2010

– The Ospreys’ only victory in their last four matches in all competitions was a 27-19 triumph at home to the Scarlets on April 2

– The Welshmen have lost their last five away games since beating the Scarlets 21-14 at Parc y Scarlets in the Magners League on December 26

– Ulster beat the Ospreys 20-16 at Liberty Stadium in round three of the Magners League, but have never achieved a league double over the Ospreys in the same season. The Ospreys have won on their last two visits to Ravenhill in all competitions