Planet Rugby

Preview: Ospreys v Aironi

05th May 2011 12:57

Share:

Dan Biggar kicking for the Ospreys

Dan Biggar: Two points short of 500

The Ospreys travel to Italy on Friday knowing that anything less than a bonus-point victory over Aironi is likely to exclude them from the play-offs.

The defending champions trail Cardiff - who face the Scarlets - by a single point in fifth place heading into the final round of the regular season.

Jerry Collins is absent due to a one-match suspension after receiving three yellow cards during this season's Magners League. Dan Biggar requires two points to become only the second Ospreys player to reach 500 in the Magners League

"It's gone down to the wire and we are left in a position where we have to go out and give everything on Friday night and hopefully, get our reward," commented Ospreys Head Coach Sean Holley.

"It's important that we concentrate on ourselves, that the boys know their roles and responsibilities, that they carry them out to the best of their abilities and we don't allow ourselves to get distracted by what may be happening elsewhere.

"It's not going to be an easy 80 minutes, they are a very tough nut to crack. Look at their results at home this season and you've seen that they've given some very good teams a close call. Add into the mix that Rowland will, I'm sure, want to take our scalp, and you'll see that we have to be professional and do a job.

"I expect to see champion spirit, and a champion's performance from us. Nothing less than that will be good enough."

Meanwhile, Aironi Head Coach Rowland Phillips has been forced to shuffle his back row, where the suspension of Nick Williams (who has collected his third yellow card of the season) has forced the coaching staff to shift Gareth Krause to number eight.

It will be the final match of the South African's career, as he announced his retirement last month. Josh Sole takes the openside flanker spot, with the young Joshua Furno moving from the second row to the blindside.

The pack is completed by an experienced second row of Internationals Marco Bortolami and Quintin Geldenhuys, while the front row sees Fabio Staibano and Alberto De Marchi at props, with Luigi Ferraro hooking.

"This game represents the opportunity to play against the best team - on paper - of the entire Magners League and one of the best in the European rugby. It's another chance to match against some top players, but also the opportunity to play again a big role in this season", said Phillips.

"What I want to see from my team is the will to show once again how we grow up mentally during the season, staying concentrate for the whole game and using our structures to play a good rugby. First parts of a process we will continue in the next season".

"You look at the Ospreys squad and you can see some of the best players in the world. What amazes me is how they struggled during the season both in the Magners League and in the Heineken Cup, where they failed to qualify for the knock-out stage".

Form: Ospreys have won all nine previous matches they have played against Italian opponents including a 38-6 victory against Aironi at Liberty Stadium in Round Four. Aironi conclude their debut season in the Magners League in search of a second victory to go with their 25-13 home win over Connacht on 26 March. Ospreys, the defending Magners League champions, still have some work to do if they are to make the playoffs. A bonus point win must surely be a minimum requirement but even that may not be enough if other results go against them. Ospreys are without a win in their last four Magners League matches - their poorest run since their own debut season in 2003/04.

The teams:

Aironi: 15 Horacio San Martin, 14 Matteo Pratichetti, 13 Gilberto Pavan, 12 Gabriel Pizarro, 11 Danwel Demas, 10 James Marshall, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Gareth Krause, 7 Josh Sole, 6 Joshua Furno, 5 Quintin Geldenhuys (c), 4 Marco Bortolami, 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 Luigi Ferraro, 1 Alberto De Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Fabio Ongaro, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 George Biagi, 20 Nicola Cattina, 21 Pablo Canavosio, 22 Giulio Toniolatti, 23 Riccardo Bocchino.

Ospreys:15 Richard Fussell, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 James Hook, 11 Nikki Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Jonathan Thomas, 7 Marty Holah, 6 Justin Tipuric, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Ryan Jones, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Huw Bennett, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Duncan Jones, 19 Ian Gough, 20 Tom Smith 21 Tom Isaacs, 22 Ashley Beck, 23 Sonny Parker.

Date: Friday, May 6
Venue: Stadio Luigi Zaffanella
Kick-off: 20.05 BST
Referee: Andy Macpherson (SRU)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 27
Saracens vs Sale15:00
Leicester vs London Irish15:00
Northampton vs Bath15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 27
South Africa vs Australia16:05
Argentina vs New Zealand23:10
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
Munster vs Ospreys18:30
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
Saturday , September 27
Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
Pumas vs Western Province15:00
Griquas vs Lions15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 24
North Harbour vs Canterbury19:35
Thursday , September 25
Bay Of Plenty vs Northland19:35
Friday , September 26
Taranaki vs Auckland19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle 10 - 35 NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Ospreys 62 - 13 EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Otago 38 - 7 WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Report
Wellington 20 - 42 TasmanWellington vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Harlequins 26 - 23 WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Report
London Irish 32 - 36 SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 24 - 15 Bayonne
Montpellier 23 - 3 Stade FrancaisMontpellier vs Stade Francais Report
La Rochelle 26 - 29 Bordeaux-Begles
Clermont Auvergne 43 - 12 LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Report
Castres 27 - 18 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
Blue Bulls 15 - 26 SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 37 CheetahsEastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath314
2Saracens313
3Northampton311
4Exeter310
5Leicester Tigers39