Munster head coach Anthony Foley will unleash his southern hemisphere imports on the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium tomorrow, naming Aussie second row Mark Chisholm and New Zealand backs Tyler Bleyendaal and Francis Saili in the side for a crucial Guinness Pro12 clash.
But Foley has also decided to give youth a fling with former Irish under 20 wing Stephen Fitzgerald in a back three to include Andrew Conway and Felix Jones, who captains the side. Another youngster, 21 year old Rory Scannell, has been rewarded for good form and he will partner Saili in the centre.
Dave Kilcoyne makes his first appearance of the season in a front row that also includes Stephen Archer, his 99th appearance for the province.
Bad news for the Welsh side is that both Tom Grabham and Ben John have both been ruled out after sustaining injuries against Ulster last week.
Grabham (MCL) and John (ankle) will both miss the Munster clash after picking up injuries during the defeat to Ulster at Kingspan Stadium last weekend. Grabham is the more serious of the two and he could be out for two months.
Both Foley and Ospreys coach Steve Tandy will be seeking improvement from their respective teams, Foley pointing this week to Munster’s dismal record (three wins from 12) at the Liberty Stadium.
Whilst happy with picking up four points against Treviso, he believes he will need more from his charges: “It’s a testing weekend. But we all understand if we want to progress that we need to go to places like the Liberty Stadium and win.”
Meanwhile, Tandy said it would be a test of mental strength to bounce back after the defeat in Belfast: “Ours isn’t the kind of environment where we hide behind excuses or try to avoid responsibility. The review process has been honest and we all know where we stand. Importantly, everybody knows what they have to do this week.
“We talk about attention to detail, accuracy, knowing your role, and these can’t just be words, there has to be meaning to it.
When you don’t show those characteristics day to day, then you get the kind of un-Ospreys like performance that we saw last Friday.”
Munster will join with the Ospreys tomorrow in paying tribute to the late All Black back rower Jerry Collins, who was such a favourite when playing with the club between 2009 and 2011.
Collins and his wife Alana were tragically killed in a road accident in France early in June and their infant daughter Ayla orphaned.
Tandy admitted: “It’s going to be an emotional afternoon with the tribute to Jerry so we need to make sure that we channel that emotion in the right way and show the true Ospreys spirit, the spirit typified by JC.”
D Evans, K Phillips, J Spratt, O Watkin, H Dirksen, S Davies, B Leonard, N Smith, S Parry, D Arhip, L Ashley (captain), R Thornton, J Bearman, S Underhill, D Baker.
S Otten, M Thomas, C Griffiths, DK Steenkamp, O Cracknell, T Habberfield, A Jenkins, R Fussell.
F Jones (captain); A Conway, F Saili, R Scannell, S Fitzgerald; T Bleyendaal, C Sheridan; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry, S Archer; M Chisholm, D Foley; D O’Callaghan, J O’Donoghue, R Copeland.
D Casey, J Cronin, BJ Botha, J Coghlan, CJ Stander, D Williams, I Keatley, D Johnston.
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