Leinster v Ospreys preview

Updated: March 22, 2012

With the Six Nations concluded for another year attention now turns to the domestic game and on Friday night Leinster will look to continue their impressive recent form against the Ospreys at the RDS, kick off 7.05pm.

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt was handed a triple selection boost during the week with the news that both captain Leo Cullen and Brian O’Driscoll are available, along with World Cup winner Brad Thorn who will be making his senior debut for Leinster.

Having three players of such quality to choose from is obviously a huge boost for Schmidt who will be looking to build some winning momentum ahead of what will be a crucial few weeks in Leinster’s season with a trip to face Munster and a Heineken Cup quarter final against the Cardiff Blues in the next three weeks.

Leinster have been on a tremendous run as of late. Save for a draw away to the Glasgow Warriors, Leinster have won four out of their last five domestic games and in the process stretching their lead at the top of the RaboDirect Pro 12 table to 11 points over Munster.

The visit of the Ospreys will be the perfect chance for both Cullen and O’Driscoll to gain some sharpness. While they may be physically fit both lack match fitness and will strip fitter for any game time they get under their belts on Friday night.

The Ospreys, however, will pose a huge threat to the Heineken Cup champions. They welcome back their Grand Slam winning Wales internationals Alun Wyn Jones, who will captain the side and prop Adam Jones who will start from the bench.

Speaking ahead of the game head coach Steve Tandy believes the feel good factor of Wales Grand Slam victory can only help his side.

“It’s good to be able to welcome back our internationals on the back of their Grand Slam success, and we’ll be looking for them to bring that buzz back with them to the region,” said Tandy.

“We’re proud of what they’ve achieved with Wales, to have 11 boys involved in the Grand Slam is something special, but it’s important now that everyone focuses on the remaining five games of the regular season and the battle for the play-offs.

“Leinster away is always a big ask. Their home record in this competition speaks for itself so we know what to expect out there.

“But, we’ve won there before and there are plenty of players in this group with that experience to fall back on so although we are still a pretty young group, we believe in each other and our own ability.”


15: Isa Nacewa
14: David Kearney
13: Brian O’Driscoll
12: Fergus McFadden
11: Luke Fitzgerald
10: Ian Madigan
9: Isaac Boss

1: Heinke van der Merwe
2: Richardt Strauss
3: Nathan White
4: Leo Cullen CAPTAIN
5: Brad Thorn
6: Rhys Ruddock
7: Dominic Ryan
8: Leo Auva’a


16: Sean Cronin
17: Jack McGrath
18: Jamie Hagan
19: Damian Browne
20: Kevin McLaughlin
21: John Cooney
22: Eoin O’Malley
23: Fionn Carr


15: Richard Fussell
14: Hanno Dirksen
13: Andrew Bishop
12: Ashley Beck
11: Eli Walker
10: Dan Biggar
9: Kahn Fotuali’i

1: Paul James
2: Richard Hibbard
3: Aaron Jarvis
4: Ryan Jones
5: Alun Wyn Jones CAPTAIN
6: Tom Smith
7: Justin Tipuric
8: George Stowers


16: Scott Baldwin
17: Ryan Bevington
18: Adam Jones
19: Ian Evans
20: James King
21: Rhys Webb
22: Matthew Morgan
23: Tom Isaacs

REFEREE: Peter Fitzgibbon (IRFU), ASSISTANT REFEREES: Simon McDowell, Olly Hodges (both IRFU), 4th OFFICIAL: Gary Glennon (Leinster Rugby Referees), 5th OFFICIAL: Dan Wallace (Leinster Rugby Referees), TMO: Alan Rogan (IRFU)

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