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Preview: Ospreys v Leinster

02nd November 2012 09:24

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Shane Jennings leinster aironi 2011

Leading Leinster: Shane Jennings

Hooker Matthew Dwyer will make his first start for Ospreys in Sunday's PRO12 clash against Leinster at Liberty Stadium.

The hosts are without nine players who are away on international duty for the rematch of last season's final.

Lock Lloyd Peers makes his first PRO12 start while Arthur Ellis, Marc Thomas and Daniel Suter will all make their Ospreys debuts if they come off the bench

"November is going to be a big month for us, as is always the case," said Ospreys backs coach Gruff Rees.

"With international players away, it's always a challenge, and a great opportunity for some of our younger players to stand up and show what they are capable of.

"As someone who has done a lot of work with the younger players in my previous time with the Ospreys, I'm looking forward to the games this month. With two LV= Cup games to follow then two more PRO12 matches, it's a crucial time of the season and it's important that the work we've done in preparing for this period bears fruit.

"Last season's title success was driven by the core group of players who were around in the international periods, who got that great six game winning start to the season to put us in a great position, beat a full strength Munster in November and kept things going in February. We need these players to step up to the mark in the same way.

"It's a great opportunity for guys coming in and show that they are good enough to be Ospreys. It's at times like this that players such as Justin Tipuric, Ryan Bevington and Ashley Beck have excelled in recent seasons and they've used it to kick on and establish themselves with both their region and their country. We'll be expecting some of the players involved this month to have a similar impact so it's exciting as coaches and players, and I'd expect our supporters to feel the same.

"We know that Leinster may have an unfamiliar look to their team this weekend but we also know that as European champions they have real strength in depth and whatever players wear their shirt we will be in for a real test."

Meanwhile, Andrew Goodman will make his debut for Leinster at inside centre in a team which shows wholesale changes from the side which defeated the Cardiff Blues last weekend.

David Kearney is one of only two player who remain in the backline and he moves to full-back with Andrew Conway and Fionn Carr named on the wings.

Ireland scrum-half Isaac Boss (who makes his 55th appearance) partners Ian Madigan at in the half backs, with the latter shifting from full-back where he has featured in recent weeks.

Shane Jennings leads the team and he is named in the back-row alongside number eight Leo Auva'a and Rhys Ruddock who made his first senior appearance this season in last weekend's Round 7 fixture.

Damian Browne partners Devin Toner, who is set to make his 107th appearance for his home province.

The replacements bench comprises completely of Leinster Academy products.

Form: Last season's RaboDirect PRO12 finalists meet at Liberty Stadium. Defending champions, Ospreys have got their defence back on track with four straight victories. Of the last eight Irish provinces to have visited Liberty Stadium only Ulster have won: 16-13 on 8 September 2012. Leinster have won their last four matches in all competitions since their defeat at Connacht on 28 September - the Leinstermen have lost two of their last three away games in the RaboDirect PRO12. Leinster have won their last three encounters with Welsh regions, and have been victorious in four of their last five visits to Wales in all tournaments. Ospreys only reversal in their last five clashes with Leinster was 10-15 at the RDS on 7 January 2011. The Leinstermen have not won at Liberty Stadium since 18 September 2009.

The teams:

Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Tom Isaacs, 12 Andrew Bishop, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Matthew Morgan, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 George Stowers, 5 Jonathan Thomas (c), 4 Lloyd Peers, 3 Joe Rees, 2 Matthew Dwyer, 1 Duncan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Arthur Ellis, 17 Marc Thomas, 18 Daniel Suter, 19 James King, 20 Morgan Allen, 21 Kahn Fotuali'i, 22 Jonathan Spratt, 23 Ross Jones

Leinster: 15 David Kearney, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Andrew Goodman, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Leo Auva'a, 7 Shane Jennings (c), 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Damian Browne, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 Thomas Sexton, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Martin Moore, 19 Ben Marshall, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 John Cooney, 22 Noel Reid, 23 Sam Coghlan-Murray.

Date: Sunday, 4 November
Venue: Liberty Stadium

Kick-off: 16:00Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Neil Hennessy (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
Television match official: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales)

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