Preview: Ospreys v Glasgow

Date published: March 4 2011

Sean Lineen has urged Glasgow to continue to improve when they return to Swansea for the first time since last season's semi-final.

Sean Lineen has urged Glasgow to continue their improvement when they return to Swansea for the first time since last season's semi-final defeat.

The Warriors, who have named an unchanged starting XV from last week, are sure to face a strong Ospreys side when they clash on Saturday.
However, Lineen is adamant that a first win at Liberty Stadium for the Warriors would mark another major milestone in their development.

“It was a massive day for the club and it was a deserved result after the massive strides we had taken in the preceding years,” he said.

“I was delighted with the way we got there and it was a fantastic season – one we need to be proud of. The semi-final was a great occasion and these players need to live up to that and give a good account of themselves on Saturday.”

Glasgow showed tremendous grit to grab a late draw against Dragons last week and that result is sure to add confidence ahead of a tough trip to Swansea.

“I was delighted in some ways with the draw against the Dragons. We showed a lot of character and team spirit there to come back from behind,” Lineen said.

“The players stepped up to the plate and I was pleased with how they got stuck in even when we went a score down near the end. They showed real character to get back down that field and refuse to give up. You just sensed that someone was going to score because they were so determined.

“The reaction of the players at the end just showed what it meant to get that home draw against the Dragons but this weekend will be a massive test against the Ospreys.”

On the challenge that lies ahead, Lineen concluded: “As I said to the players this week: 'What an opportunity. What a challenge. Take another step in the right direction – and they have shown what they can do when they really put their mind to it – and who knows'.

“We had the best away record in the league last season and that doesn't come easily so we've got to make sure that we strive to improve every game and that has to continue against the Ospreys this weekend.”

Meanwhile, Ospreys head coach Sean Holley admitted that he's been impressed with his side of late, particularly at half-back, ahead of their clash with Glasgow.

“Our speed of ball is really good at the moment, our ball presentation and the way Rhys is getting the ball away, and Daniel is moving onto the ball,” he said.

“It's showing that we are a potent threat, scoring tries.”

However, he is refusing to get overconfident and expects the Warriors to play much better than their eleventh-place Magners League standing suggests.

“I see Glasgow coming down and trying to spoil us at that tackle area and harassing us,” Holley added.

“They are a very dangerous team when they want to be, they've got quick players. Colin Gregor is a good half back who's very tricky, and a young goal kicking ten (Duncan Weir), and a bit of experience up front.

“They are always a difficult proposition. We drew 9-all with them at this period last year, so they can make it really sticky for you, and this week we've been about showing the utmost respect, as we have done with Connacht and Treviso, and getting the job done.

“This group is pretty grounded. They know they've got a job to do this weekend, and they are focussed on getting on with it. They know how important it is, this is an essential block to do well in the Magners, and we can either undo a lot of good work on Saturday, or we can sit pretty and be confident moving forward to the last part of the season.”

The teams:

Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell 14 Tom Prydie 13 Sonny Parker 12 Ashley Beck 11 Hanno Dirksen 10 Dan Biggar 9 Rhys Webb 8 Jonathan Thomas, 7 Justin Tipuric (capt), 6 Tom Smith, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Cai Griffiths, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Ryan Bevington.
Replacements: 16 Mefin Davies, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Adam Jones, 19 James King, 20 Jerry Collins, 21 Jamie Nutbrown, 22 Dai Flanagan, 23 Andrew Bishop.

Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Hefin O'Hare, 13 Peter Murchie, 12 Peter Horne, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Colin Gregor (capt), 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Calum Forrester, 6 James Eddie, 5 Tom Ryder, 4 Aly Muldowney, 3 Ed Kalman, 2 Fergus Thomson, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Kevin Tkachuk , 19 Robert Harley, 20 Johnnie Beattie, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Alex Dunbar, 23 Bernardo Stortoni.

Date: Saturday, March 5
Kick-off: 17:30
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Referee: tba