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Munster need Botha firing to bring down Ospreys

AT the moment, this looks very much like a semi-final between two clubs who have seen better days, writes DES BERRY.

The Ospreys stand on the brink of slipping into the backwaters of the game unless they can find some silverware or prevent the ongoing drain of their better players to other Leagues.

Ireland wing Tommy Bowe (pictured), Wales hooker Huw Bennett, Scotland wing Nikki Walker and the retiring Shane Williams will join last year's exodus of players. This is a club on the slide in a part of the world, Wales, where the general public has not bought into the regional franchise system. The Ospreys need this one badly.

Last year's champions, Munster, have to do it the hard way against the 2010 kingpins on the road to a club which has fallen just once in Swansea this season.

The battle of the tight-heads could be pivotal. Munster's BJ Botha and The Ospreys' Adam Jones are world-class.

Munster do not have Paul O'Connell. This is a body blow to Tony McGahan's drive towards back-to-back titles.

The Ospreys: R Fussell; H Dirksen, A Bishop, A Beck, S Williams; D Biggar, K Fotuali'i; P James, R Hibbard, A Jones, A Wyn-Jones (capt), I Evans, R Jones, J Tipuric, J Bearman.

Munster: F Jones; J Murphy, K Earls, L Mafi, S Zebo; I Keatley, C Murray; W du Preez, M Sherry, BJ Botha; D O'Callaghan, M O'Driscoll; D Ryan, T O'Donnell, P O'Mahony (capt).

RABO DIRECT PRO12 LEAGUE SEMI-FINAL

The Ospreys v Munster,

The Liberty Stadium, TONIGHT (KO 7.35 -- RTé2)

Verdict: Munster


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