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RaboDirect PRO12 Preview: Ospreys v Leinster

RaboDirect PRO12 Preview: Ospreys v Leinster

Leinster will meet the Ospreys for the first time since the Welsh region secured the RaboDirect PRO12 title with a dramatic late win at the RDS last May. Today’s clash sees a number of personnel changes for both sides compared to the league decider.

RABODIRECT PRO12: Sunday, November 4

OSPREYS (6th) v LEINSTER (5th), Liberty Stadium, 4pm (live RTÉ One/S4C)

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Team News: The Leinster team to face the Ospreys in Sunday afternoon’s RaboDirect PRO12 showdown at the Liberty Stadium has been named.

New Zealander Andrew Goodman will make his debut for the province at inside centre in a team which shows a number of changes to the side that defeated the Cardiff Blues last weekend.

David Kearney is one of only two players retained in the starting back-line and he moves to full-back with Andrew Conway and Fionn Carr named on the wings.

Ireland scrum half Isaac Boss, who makes his 55th appearance, partners Ian Madigan at half-back with the latter shifting from full-back where he has featured in recent weeks.

The 30-year-old Goodman recently finished playing for Tasman in the ITM Cup and trained with the Leinster squad for the first time on Bank Holiday Monday.

Leinster skills and kicking coach Richie Murphy, speaking at the time, said: “Andrew has come in and it will have to be a steep learning curve for him, we’d like him to be involved at the weekend.

“He is going to be centre or at number 10. He will be in the midfield three and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings. He is excited about being here and already he seems to be fitting in so well.”

Up front, Shane Jennings captains Leinster from the back row alongside number 8 Leo Auva’a and Rhys Ruddock who made his first senior appearance this season against Cardiff.

Damian Browne partners Devin Toner, who is set to make his 107th appearance for his home province, while the replacements bench is comprised completely of Leinster Academy products.

Meanwhile, as with Leinster, the Ospreys are missing a number of players due to international commitments or injuries.

Wales and Lions prop Adam Jones (knee) heads the Welsh region’s injury list, while experienced second row Ian Gough remains unavailable due to an ongoing medical problem.

Bridgend hooker Matthew Dwyer will make his first start for the Ospreys after appearing as a replacement against Zebre last month.

It will be a first league start for 21-year-old lock Lloyd Peers and replacements Arthur Ellis, Marc Thomas and Daniel Suter are standing by to make their debuts for the regional side.

OSPREYS: Richard Fussell; Hanno Dirksen, Tom Isaacs, Andrew Bishop, Eli Walker; Matthew Morgan, Rhys Webb; Duncan Jones, Matthew Dwyer, Joe Rees, Lloyd Peers, Jonathan Thomas (capt), George Stowers, Sam Lewis, Joe Bearman.

Replacements: Arthur Ellis, Marc Thomas, Daniel Suter, James King, Morgan Allen, Kahn Fotuali’i, Jonathan Spratt, Ross Jones.

LEINSTER: David Kearney; Andrew Conway, Brendan Macken, Andrew Goodman, Fionn Carr; Ian Madigan, Isaac Boss; Heinke van der Merwe, Tom Sexton, Jamie Hagan, Damian Browne, Devin Toner, Rhys Ruddock, Shane Jennings (capt), Leo Auva’a.

Replacements: James Tracy, Jack McGrath, Martin Moore, Ben Marshall, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Noel Reid, Sam Coghlan Murray.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Neil Hennessy, Wayne Davies (both Wales)
Television Match Official: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Ospreys to win: 4/6; Draw: 22/1; Leinster to win: 5/4

Pre-Match Quotes: Rhys Ruddock (Leinster) – “The Ospreys are a really good side, they have been for last couple of years and it’s no different this year, they will be high on confidence even though they’re losing a few internationals.

“There are a number of guys leaving for internationals on our side too so it means a few can step up and carry on the good work they have started.

“It was really good [to return against Cardiff], I’m delighted to be back and put in such a good team performance, we did brilliantly and it was one of our best performances of the season.

“The pace of the RaboDirect PRO12 is always very fast, but I felt relatively fit and happy enough. I played for 30 minutes, but you can do all the running you want but when you’re out there making contact it’s a different story.

“I was out for four and-a-half months, but it doesn’t feel that long because I haven’t missed too many games.”

Gruff Rees (Ospreys) – “November is going to be a big month for us, as is always the case. With international players away, it’s always a challenge, and a great opportunity for some of our younger players to stand up and show what they are capable of.

“Last season’s title success was driven by the core group of players who were around in the international periods, who got that great six-matcch winning start to the season to put us in a great position, beat a full strength Munster in November and kept things going in February.

“We need these players to step up to the mark in the same way. It’s a great opportunity for guys coming in and show that they are good enough to be Ospreys.

“We know that Leinster may have an unfamiliar look to their team this weekend but we also know that as European champions they have real strength in depth and whatever players wear their shirt we will be in for a real test.”

Top Scorers – 2012/13 RaboDirect PRO12: Ospreys – Points: Dan Biggar 69; Tries: Hanno Dirksen, Richard Fussell, Jonathan Thomas 2 each; Leinster – Points: Jonathan Sexton 55; Tries: Brendan Macken, Ian Madigan 3 each


Saturday, May 29, 2010 – Grand final – Leinster 12 Ospreys 17, the RDS
Sunday, November 28, 2010 – Ospreys 19 Leinster 15, Liberty Stadium
Friday, January 7, 2011 – Leinster 15 Ospreys 10, the RDS
Friday, September 2, 2011 – Ospreys 27 Leinster 3, Liberty Stadium
Friday, March 23, 2012 – Leinster 22 Ospreys 23, the RDS
Sunday, May 27, 2012 – Final – Leinster 30 Ospreys 31, the RDS


– Last season’s RaboDirect PRO12 finalists meet at the Liberty Stadium. Defending champions, the Ospreys, have got their defence back on track with four straight victories

– Of the last eight Irish provinces to have visited the Swansea venue, only Ulster have won, beating the hosts 16-13 on September 8

– Leinster have won their last four matches in all competitions since their defeat at Connacht on September 28

– The Leinstermen have lost two of their last three away games in the RaboDirect PRO12

– Leinster have won their last three encounters with Welsh regions, and have been victorious in four of their last five visits to Wales in all competitions

– The Ospreys’ only reversal in their last five clashes with Leinster was 15-10 at the RDS in January 2011. The Leinstermen have not won at the Liberty Stadium since September 2009