Munster will face an Ospreys side in disarray on and off the field, but Johann van Graan’s side have been warned they’ll face a wounded animal in their Champion’s Cup opener.
The Ospreys have made a shocking start to their season losing five of their opening six Guinness PRO14 fixtures. Head coach Allen Clarke admitted they were “at the bottom of the pit” after their embarrassing home defeat to lowly South African outfit the Southern Kings last weekend.
But former Wales and British & Irish Lions flanker Dan Lydiate, who will captain the side at the Liberty Stadium, insists they will get their act together for the visit of the two-time European champions.
“We aren’t happy with how we’ve started our season but we are confident we can get better,” said Lydiate.
“When you play against the best teams in Europe you automatically rise to the occasion both individually and collectively. We are confident that if we bring our best performance then we can be competitive.
“Munster are always a tough team to play against and they have such strength in depth in their squad. It will be a different team to the one we played in the PRO14 a few weeks ago. At the moment we aren’t putting in 80 minute performances and we are playing in fits and spurts. We’ve got a young group of players and looking further down the line this period could be invaluable for their development.
“People will say this pool is as bad as it comes but it’s probably as exciting as it comes as well. As a player you want to play against the best teams but there’s no better than what we’ve got in our pool.” The Welsh regions early season form has been partly due to the absence of 10 players to World Cup duty with a further eight players on the injury list. With Wales’ stars given a window of four to six weeks to get over their World Cup exertions head coach Allen Clarke is still without the bulk of his first choice players although Nicky Smith, Bradley Davies and Aled Davies return to the bench.
And Clarke has called on his Ospreys side to fight their way out of their current predicament. “I’m very aware of the region we represent with the mining history and Port Talbot Steelworks,” said Clarke.
“I’m very aware of the DNA of this club and we’ve got to mine our way out of the situation we find ourselves in. We’ve looked at the aspects we can control.
“If a team is bigger, faster and stronger than us and we are beaten by a better team by the bounce of the ball or by a forced mistake then we can all live with that. It’s the aspects that we can control that we need to be better at.
“There’s been honesty regarding that all week and we need to be better against a strong Munster side.”