Planet Rugby

Preview: Ospreys v Leinster

22nd November 2007 11:57

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Filo Tiatia

Filo Tiatia: Will lead the Ospreys against Leinster

The Ospreys are missing nine Welsh international for their Magners League clash with Leinster at the Liberty Stadium on Friday.

With Wales taking on South Africa on Saturday, the Ospreys have been denied the services of Sonny Parker, Gavin Henson, James Hook, Mike Phillips, Jonathan Thomas, Ian Evans, Alun Wyn Jones, Huw Bennett and Duncan Jones.

Lyn Jones, head coach, and Sean Holley, assistant coach, are still able to name a strong side, that will be captained by number eight Filo Tiatia, and includes Marty Holah and Hale T-Pole in the back row.

Young scrum-half Martin Roberts gets a rare start with Phillips away on Welsh duty and Justin Marshall injured. Roberts, named in Wales's Sevens squad this week, will be joined at half-back by Shaun Connor, forcing Gareth Owen to full-back.

Despite defeat against Gloucester last week the Ospreys will be looking to bounce back against a strong Leinster side.

"This weeks game gives us an opportunity to show our capabilities as Magners League champions," said Holley.

"Leinster will arrive highly motivated following their defeat in France last weekend and they will be looking to avenge two previous narrow defeats at the Liberty Stadium.

"We have a strong home record, fine support and the players in our team will be looking to make a point in advance of the fixtures against Harlequins and Ulster."

Meanwhile, Leinster's Gordon D'Arcy has failed to prove his fitness and will be replaced in the centres by Felipe Contepomi, who moves from fly-half to fill the void at twelve.

The other changes to the backline, Rob Kearney replaces the injured Girvan Dempsey at full-back with Luke Fitzgerald coming on to the left wing. Cillian Willis partners Jonathan Sexton at half-back.

In the pack, Stan Wright, Leo Cullen and Keith Gleeson remain from last weekend with Cameron Jowitt, who came on as a sub against Toulouse, forming a new back-row partnership alongside Kevin McLaughlin and Ireland international Gleeson.

Ireland 'A' hooker Brian Blaney also comes into the starting line-up.

Gary Brown and Jonathan Sexton come into a strong bench which includes the likes of Ireland internationals Bernard Jackman, Malcolm O'Kelly, Shane Jennings as well as scrum-half Chris Keane who returns from injury.

A decision on replacement prop will be confirmed closer to kick-off.

Form: Ospreys 18-26 defeat at Gloucester on Friday ended a four game winning run in all competitions for the Welshmen. The last none Welsh team to win at Liberty Stadium was Ulster on 26 May 2006. Leinster have won just one of their last six away games: 30-19 at Cardiff Blues on 28 September. The last four encounters between the teams have been won by the home side on the day, whilst Leinster's last win in Swansea was 51-10 against Swansea RFC at St Helen's in the European Cup on 19 October 2002.

The Teams:

Ospreys: 15 Gareth Owen, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Mark Taylor, 12 Andrew Bishop, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Shaun Connor, 9 Martin Roberts, 8 Filo Tiatia (c), 7 Marty Holah, 6 Hale T-Pole, 5 Lyndon Bateman, 4 Andy Lloyd, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paul James.

Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 Andrew Millward, 18 Mike Powell, 19 Tom Smith, 20 Rhodri Wells, 21 Ashley Beck, 22 Jonathan Vaughton.

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Shane Horgan, 13 Brian O'Driscoll (c), 12 Felipe Contepomi, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Cillian Willis, 8 Kevin McLaughlin, 7 Keith Gleeson, 6 Cameron Jowitt, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Leo Cullen, 3 Juan Gomez, 2 Brian Blaney, 1 Stan Wright.

Replacements: 16 Bernard Jackman, 17 Cian Healy / Ollie le Roux, 18 Malcolm O'Kelly, 19 Shane Jennings, 20 Chris Keane, 21 Christian Warner, 22 Gary Brown.

Date: Friday, 23 November

Kick-off: 19:10 GMT

Venue: Liberty Stadium, Swansea

Referee: Andy Macpherson(Scotland)

Touch judges: Tim Hayes (Wales), Matthew Aplin (Wales)

Television match official: Tony Rowlands (Wales)

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