Preview: Aironi v Ospreys

Date published: May 4 2012

The Ospreys will look to gain momentum for the Pro12 play-offs when they travel to Aironi on the final day of the regular season.

The Ospreys will look to gain momentum for the Pro12 play-offs when they travel to Aironi on the final day of the regular season on Saturday.

The Welsh side are without a long list of injured players but have still selected a very strong side – despite having already secured a home play-off – as they aim to maintain their unbeaten record against Italian opponents.

“It's important that we keep the momentum of the last couple of months going and we'll expect the team to maintain the standards that they've set in the last few games,” said said Head Coach Steve Tandy.

“It's easy for players to get distracted with a semi-final on the horizon, but the group has worked very hard this week and we've ensured that the focus has been firmly on Aironi and what will be a very difficult evening for us.

“The attitude of the team has been spot on over the last couple of months and they've got their reward for that with a home semi-final. It's important moving on from here that we make sure that hard work isn't wasted, and we kick on over the closing weeks of the season. What we've done before now won't matter, what we'll be judged on is how we perform in these do or die games at the end of the season and we want to ensure that we give our supporters something to be proud of.

“We'll have a short turnaround given that we are traveling back on Sunday then at home in the semi-final on Friday night, but there is a real buzz about the place ahead of that game and we'll all be looking forward to getting back to the Liberty. After the atmosphere at the last home game it'll be good to be back in front of our fans who'll be getting behind us in the push for the final.”

More to follow…

Form: Aironi's solitary win since early January was at home to Munster in the RaboDirect PRO12 on 11 March. Aironi have never beaten a Welsh region. Ospreys have already secured a home play-off and have won their last four PRO12 games. Ospreys have won three of their last four away matches and have never lost to a team from Italy. Ospreys have won all three previous clashes between the two sides.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Aironi: 15 Paolo Buso, 14 Sinoti Sinoti, 13 Matteo Pratichetti, 12 Gabriel Pizarro, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Naas Olivier, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Nicola Cattina; 5 Marco Bortolami (cap), 4 Quintin Geldenhuys; 3 Lorenzo Romano, 2 Roberto Santamaria, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Fabio Ongaro, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Salvatore Perugini, 19 Carlo Del Fava, 20 Josh Sole, 21 Tyson Keats, 22 Luciano Orquera, 23 Gilberto Pavan.

Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Tom Smith, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (Capt), 3 Adam Jones 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Joe Rees, 19 James King, 20 George Stowers, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Tom Isaacs.

Date: Saturday, May 5
Venue: Stadio Zaffanella
Kick-off: 20.30 local (18.30 GMT)
Referee: Neil Paterson (SRU)