Preview: Ospreys v Munster

Date published: March 6 2015

Second-row Lloyd Ashley will lead the Ospreys when they take on Munster in Sunday's PRO12 clash in Swansea.

Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy admits that responding from their opening round loss is something they are determined to do on home soil.

"It was obviously a disappointing start to the season, losing like we did last weekend in Ulster, but it’s a test of our mental character as a group now to bounce back and put on the kind of performance expected of an Ospreys team this Sunday," he said.

"Ours isn’t the kind of environment where we hide behind excuses or try to avoid responsibiity. The review process this week has been honest and we all know where we stand. Importantly, everybody knows what they have to do this week, in what promises to be a another difficult afternoon against a very good Munster side.

"We talk about attention to detail, accuracy, knowing your role, and these can’t just be words, there has to be meaning to it. When you don’t show those characteristics, day to day and when you step on to the field on game day, then you get the kind of un-Ospreys like performance that we saw last Friday.

"We aren’t going to dwell on it though, it’s important that we knuckle down and get on with the job. That defeat doesn’t make us a bad team, just as we weren’t the best team in the world after the win against Saracens the week before. If we are going to get the performance right on Sunday we need to do the basics and ensure we put the building blocks in place."

Meanwhile, Tyler Bleyendaal, Mark Chisholm and Francis Saili join academy player Stephen Fitzgerald in making their first PRO12 starts for Munster.

Bleyendaal made his debut for the province against Treviso last weekend when coming off the bench after 55 minutes and this week he makes his first PRO12 start joining Cathal Sheridan in the half-backs.

In total Foley makes eight changes to the starting XV for Sunday's encounter.

In the front-row returning international Dave Kilcoyne makes his first appearance of the season scrumming down alongside Mike Sherry and Stephen Archer who is promoted from the bench for his 99th appearance for the province.

Munster's newest signing Mark Chisholm will make his debut for the province when he lines out next to Dave Foley while the only change to the back-row sees Robin Copeland introduced at number eight.

Saili has successfully completed all of his return to play protocols and makes his PRO12 debut in joining academy player Rory Scannell in the centre partnership. Scannell's academy colleague Stephen Fitzgerald is another to make his competitive debut and the 19-year-old is named on the wing joining Andrew Conway and Felix Jones in the back-three. Jones takes over the captaincy role this week.

In the replacements hooker Duncan Casey is included in his first matchday squad of the season while Jordan Coghlan is in line to make his Munster PRO12 debut if sprung from the bench.

Form: The Welshmen are unbeaten at Liberty Stadium in the PRO12 in their last 14 matches since Munster visited the ground in 2014. Munster's only loss in their last eight Guinness PRO12 encounters came in last season's final to Glasgow Warriors in Belfast. The Munstermen lost just one of their last eight matches against Welsh regions: 12-26 to Ospreys at Liberty Stadium in March. The two sides met on three occasions in the PRO12 last season with Ospreys taking both regular season encounters but Munster victorious in the Play-Offs. The Munstermen's overall record at Liberty Stadium in all competitions is three wins and nine defeats.

The teams:

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Kristian Phillips, 13 Jonathan Spratt, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Hanno Dirksen, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Dan Baker, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Joe Bearman, 5 Rory Thornton, 4 Lloyd Ashley (c), 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Nicky Smith.

Replacements: 16 Scott Otten, 17 Marc Thomas, 18 Cai Griffiths, 19 De Kock Steenkamp, 20 Olly Cracknell, 21 Tom Habberfield, 22 Aled Jenkins, 23 Richard Fussell.

Munster: 15 Felix Jones (c), 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Stephen Fitzgerald, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Cathal Sheridan, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Jack O'Donoghue, 6 Dave O'Callaghan, 5 Dave Foley, 4 Mark Chisholm, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.

Replacements: 16 Duncan Casey, 17 James Cronin, 18 BJ Botha, 19 Jordan Coghlan, 20 CJ Stander, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 David Johnston.

Date: Sunday, September 13
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Kick-off: 14:30 local (13:30 GMT)
Referee: David Wilkinson (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Davies (Wales), Martyn Lewis (Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)