Planet Rugby



Preview: Ospreys v Glasgow

01st March 2012 08:43


alastair kellock presented with 1872 cup 2012

Can play: Al Kellock

It will be second against fourth in the PRO12 at Liberty Stadium on Friday as Glasgow Warriors attempt to record their first ever victory on Ospreys soil.

Sean Lineen's team are determined to get back to winning ways after consecutive draws away to Connacht and at home to table-topping Leinster.

They travel to Swansea tasked with trimming what is currently a five-point gap between them and the Welshmen, with holders Munster sitting in third.

Glasgow's best result at Liberty Stadium to date is a 9-9 draw in 2009, but they won the first clash between the duo this term 28-17 last October.

"Every game between now and the end of the season is one where the stakes are well and truly raised, and the players are excited by the challenge of doing something we've never managed before: winning away to Ospreys," Lineen told

"It's a place where you have to be really strong both physically and mentally, because you can be absolutely sure the Ospreys will.

"The last couple of games show that the team have come a long way this season in terms of our ability to stick in and put ourselves in a positive position. What they've also told us is that we need to make good decisions more consistently to convert those opportunities into wins.

"It's about thinking on our feet, not letting the pressure of the situation get to us, and realising that one bad call can be the difference between a win and a draw, or a draw and a defeat, in the sort of tight match we've been experiencing.

"If we get that part of our game right, we're more than a match for any team in this competition."

There are four changes to the Warriors line-up, three in the pack and one behind the scrum. Lineen has continued to rotate his hookers, with Dougie Hall selected to start the game.

In the second-row, Al Kellock has been made available by Scotland and will captain the side. Calum Forrester will start at blindside flanker. Federico Aramburu will partner Alex Dunbar at centre, with Troy Nathan forced to sit the game out with a back injury.

"It's another strong side we're sending out. It's a marker of the strength in depth we're developing that even with ten backs unavailable for one reason or another, there's still plenty of quality and tenacity behind the scrum," explained Lineen.

"We're obviously really pleased to have Al available - he's chomping at the bit to get stuck into what he and the rest of the guys know is a truly massive game for us all.

"As ever, we need everyone to perform and everyone to make good decisions."

Meanwhile, the Ospreys are without fifteen players for Friday's RaboDirect PRO12 fixture due to international commitments but do have Richard Hibbard back in the hooking role.

Ashley Beck has been promoted to a starting position ahead of Stefan Watermeyer at inside centre while Rhys Webb comes in for Samoan international Kahn Fotuali'i at scrum-half.

In other selection news, loosehead prop Duncan Jones is missing from the matchday 22 due to a medial knee ligament problem that he sustained against Ulster last Friday.

"It's a crucial game in terms of securing a play-off spot with Glasgow right up there. If we can get a win then it will put a bit of distance between us and them, which will be important with games starting to run out," said head coach, Steve Tandy.

"I'm reasonably pleased with how my first two games have gone, a win and losing bonus point from a difficult trip to Ulster, but there is plenty for us to work on and some areas where we need to improve.

"A lot of the things we can improve on are under our own control and we've been working hard all week to put them right and get the positive performance and result we need on Friday. We're expecting a difficult night against a tough team who've only lost four games this season and it should be a good game."

Form: Ospreys are unbeaten in their last eight home games in the PRO12, and have lost just once at Liberty Stadium in the tournament since October 2010: 20-22 to Munster on 23 April. Ospreys have not lost at home to a Scottish side since Edinburgh were the visitors on 25 April 2009. Glasgow are the "score draw" champions of world rugby - remarkably the Scotsmen have now had five ties in their last eleven matches in all competitions. The Warriors have not won on the road since a visit to Aironi on 5 November. Glasgow won 28-17 when the two sides met at Firhill in round seven and have never yet managed to do a season's double over the Welshmen. The Warriors have never won on Ospreys soil.

The teams:

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

Glasgow: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 David Lemi, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Federico Aramburu, 11 Colin Shaw, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Calum Forrester, 5 Al Kellock (capt), 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Ed Kalman, 19 Rob Verbakel, 20 Scott Wight, 21 Murray McConnell, 22 Johnnie Beattie, 23 Tommy Seymour.

Date: Friday, March 2
Kick-off: 19:05
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)

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