Friday, January 8, 2016

Leinster name a big team for the Ospreys!

 Fergus McFadden
 Fergus 'mountain climbing' McFadden

I’m really looking forward to this evenings match between Leinster and the Ospreys at Liberty Stadium. The Ospreys have a big eye on next weekend’s Champions Cup and have picked a side which they hope will be just good enough to beat Leinster, while not risking too many of their big players. But Leinster, whose Champions Cup hopes sailed on down the Swanee a few weeks ago, want to top the PRO 12 table and stay there, so they’ve picked a full strength side. No Fergus McFadden, who gets 3 weeks on the bold step after his mountaineering efforts in the Connacht match. We’ve shown some good form in the last few weeks, and I think we can win this.

Connacht can do Leinster a favour by beating the Scarlets away. After a good start to the season, Connacht have faded slightly, as their lack of squad depth starts to hurt them. They’ll do well to win this.

Ulster have been flying in the Champions Cup, while their PRO 12 form has been pretty uneven. Oyonnax are one off the bottom of the Top !4 though, and will look at this match as an inconvenience at best, which Ulster can profit from.

Munster have been up and down a lot, with pride denting losses to Leicester and Leinster, but a confidence boosting away win at Ulster too. Stade Francaise are flirting with the drop zone in the Top 14, they are completely out of sorts this season. If they’re sensible, they’ll forget about this match and concentrate on staying up. The return of Connor Murray at scrum half is a real boost for Munster, and good to see Rory Scannell getting game time. But bite the bullet and get number 10 on his back! Munster have a good chance here.

Friday, January 8       
Edinburgh v    Benetton Treviso     7:30 PM
Ospreys v    Leinster     7:45 PM
Sunday, January 10   
Scarlets v    Connacht     2:30 PM
Friday, January 8       
Bordeaux Begles v    Clermont Auvergne     7:45 PM
Saturday, January 9   
Racing 92 v    Glasgow Warriors     1:00 PM
Stade Français Paris v    Munster     4:45 PM
Oyonnax v    Ulster     1:00 PM
Toulon v    Bath Rugby     3:15 PM

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