Jump to main content


Magners Preview: Munster v Ospreys

Magners Preview: Munster v Ospreys

Team captain Paul O’Connell remains an absentee, but Munster will have a number of their big guns back as they bid to overhaul the Ospreys at the business end of the table and take a step closer to a home Magners League semi-final.

MAGNERS LEAGUE: Saturday, April 24

MUNSTER (3rd) v OSPREYS (2nd), Thomond Park, 6.30pm (live Setanta Sports Ireland/S4C)

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

Team News: Munster coach Tony McGahan has altered his side significantly, including reuniting the pack from the recent Heineken Cup quarter-final, for Saturday’s Magners League encounter with the Ospreys at Thomond Park.

For the visit of the leading Welsh region, the Munster management have made ten changes to the team that started last Sunday’s gripping 18-12 victory at Connacht.

There are four changes in the back-line, with Paul Warwick, Tom Gleeson and Scott Deasy the only survivors, while there are six alterations in the forwards. Mick O’Driscoll and James Coughlan remain from the pack that outmuscled Connacht.

With the big European semi-final against Biarritz Olympique, it is no surprise that Ronan O’Gara, Tomas O’Leary, Marcus Horan and the rest of Munster’s international contingent – with some notable exceptions – will return to action this weekend.

Those exceptions are groin injury victims Paul O’Connell and Keith Earls who were not named in an extended squad earlier in the week, while Tony Buckley has failed to recover from a knee injury picked up in the game against Connacht.

A try scorer from the Sportsground clash, Deasy retains his place in Munster’s starting line-up but on the left wing rather than at full-back.

Simon Zebo, who made his debut last weekend, has also retained in the matchday 22. The Ireland Under-20 winger has been listed among the replacements, alongside his Cork Constitution club-mate Denis Hurley who returns from a hamstring injury.

Writing on his official website, O’Gara, who will captain Munster in O’Connell’s absence, said: “Saturday’s game will be extremely tough – the Ospreys have their eye on only one competition now, so they’ll be hell bent on winning.

“This is a key fixture for both of us but we’re intent on taking the win and nothing less. The squad is under no illusions – Saturday will be a hard game to secure our four points.

“There’s no room for complacency, we need to play our best game from the start and there will be no margin for error because the Ospreys will be take every tiny chance they get to win.

“We’re missing a few key players for this weekend, there are doubts over (Paul) O’Connell, (Keith) Earls and (Ian) Dowling, so there are some crucial places up for grabs.

“Last week was bit of a down week for me as I wasn’t playing against Connacht. It was a great result for us to win at the Sportsground.

“Connacht have done really well making that place a fortress this season and the victory gave a great lift to the whole squad.”

Meanwhile, the Ospreys will field their strongest available team in this second-versus-third showdown.

Scott Johnson and Sean Holley have made six changes to the side that lost 20-16 to Leinster in Dublin last Friday.

Ireland winger Tommy Bowe is one of the frontline players returning to the Ospreys starting line-up, along with scrum half Mike Phillips and team captain Ryan Jones.

Notably, the selected Ospreys side shows just one change to the one that was edged out by Biarritz Olympique, Munster’s opponents next week, in their Heineken Cup quarter-final clash two weeks ago.

The only alteration is in the second row where Alun Wyn Jones makes way for Ian Gough.

MUNSTER: Paul Warwick; Tom Gleeson, Lifeimi Mafi, Jean de Villiers, Scott Deasy; Ronan O’Gara (capt), Tomas O’Leary; Marcus Horan, Jerry Flannery, John Hayes, Donncha O’Callaghan, Mick O’Driscoll, Alan Quinlan, David Wallace, James Coughlan.

Replacements: Damien Varley, Julien Brugnaut, Billy Holland, Niall Ronan, Peter Stringer, Denis Hurley, Simon Zebo.

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

Replacements: Ed Shervington, Ryan Bevington, Alun Wyn Jones, Filo Tiatia, Jamie Nutbrown, Sonny Parker, Nikki Walker.

Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Simon McDowell, Alan Rogan (both Ireland)
Television Match Official: Dermot Moloney (Ireland)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Munster to win: 4/9; Draw: 22/1; Ospreys to win: 7/4

Pre-Match Quotes: Shaun Payne (Munster) – “Yes, it was a very satisfying win for us against Connacht. We all had big smiles on our faces after that game, especially with such a changed squad from even just the week before.

“Some of the young lads were outstanding. The forwards particularly, I’d have to say, were very, very good as well, of course, as some of the older guys. I thought Mick O’Driscoll was excellent. But anyone who came into the squad really added to it.

“Every game at this stage of the season is important. The Connacht game was important to us in terms of qualifications for the knock-outs.

“That’s more apparent now when you look at the top of the table and the competition for (play-off) places.

“This Ospreys game was always going to be important to us, the game’s significance itself in term of Magners League qualification, and as a lead-in to next week’s Heineken Cup semi final.

“In terms of selection, at this time of year there’s all sorts of permutations. At the minute we make our selections week by week on what’s necessary to get us through each individual game. But always with the next game in mind.

“Obviously, it’s an important game but I’m pretty sure Cardiff will be an important game as well, but for now we’ll set our minds on what will be a massive game on Saturday. Another massive game.”

Sean Holley (Ospreys) – “We are at the make-or-break stage of the season now, we’ve got two games left with everything to play for in the Magners League. It’s an exciting time, we know exactly what we need to do.

“Everybody in the group is looking forward to these next couple of matches, and hopefully, extending our season beyond early May.

“It’s not going to be easy, we face two difficult matches against Munster at Thomond Park and the Dragons, both of whom will be looking to secure a play-off place as well.

“It’s always difficult going out to Munster, who once again this season have shown what a quality outfit they are.

“They don’t lose too many at Thomond Park, so we realise that it’s going to be a difficult evening.

“But, we’ve won out in Munster before, and we have confidence in our ability as a team.

“I’d suggest that it’s going to be another good game to watch, and with a home play-off very much up for grabs, there’s everything to play for.”

Top Scorers – 2009/10 Magners League: Munster – Points: Ronan O’Gara 62; Tries: Jean de Villiers 5; Ospreys – Points: Dan Biggar 151; Tries: Tommy Bowe 7


Saturday, April 7, 2007 – Ospreys 20 Munster 12, Liberty Stadium
Sunday, October 14, 2007 – Ospreys 16 Munster 3, Liberty Stadium
Saturday, April 19, 2008 – Munster 9 Ospreys 8, Musgrave Park
Friday, January 9, 2009 – Ospreys 21 Munster 25, Liberty Stadium
Friday, May 15, 2009 – Munster 36 Ospreys 10, Thomond Park
Saturday, December 5, 2009 – Ospreys 19 Munster 14, Liberty Stadium


– Munster have won four of their last five games in all competitions. The Munstermen slipped up 16-15 against Leinster in their most recent home match but have not lost two successive home games in the Magners League since the 2003/04 season

– No Welsh team has won at Thomond Park since the Newport Gwent Dragons did so in March 2004

– The Ospreys have won two of their last three games in the Magners League. The Welsh side’s only away victory so far in 2010 was at April on April 13

– The Ospreys won 19-14 when the two teams met at the Liberty Stadium in round 8, but the Ospreys have not achieved a Magners League season’s double over the Munstermen since the 2003/04 campaign

– The Ospreys have been defeated on all four previous visits to Thomond Park, in both the Magners League and Heineken Cup