Sunday 16 December 2018

Tipuric hails Leinster's strength in depth through their Academy

Flanker Justin Tipuric
Flanker Justin Tipuric
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Fresh from finishing runners-up to Ireland in the Six Nations, the Ospreys will be hoping that their returning Welsh internationals can provide the spark for them to beat Leinster tomorrow evening.

Qualification for next season's Champions Cup is under serious threat for the Ospreys, who could desperately do with a morale-boosting win to help propel them up the table.

The Welsh side are currently only ahead of Zebre in their Conference as they have endured a disappointing and disruptive season.

Their task doesn't get any easier with Leinster arriving in town and Wales flanker Justin Tipuric warned that his side have a very tough task on their hands.

Missing

 "They're a great team, and they've got such a great squad," Tipuric said. "No matter how many players are missing, they have guys who can step in.

"They have a great Academy system and it shows that it is working, especially with all of the success that they have had.

"You want to try and finish the season with a bit of form really and try and get a few wins ready for next season. Beating Leinster at home is only going to be a great start to getting that done."

Ospreys lost their head coach Steve Tandy when he left the club with immediate effect in January, which has left former Ulster coach Allen Clarke in charge.

It would be a body blow for the club if they are not playing in Europe's premier competition next season so from that end they aren't sugar-coating how important tomorrow's clash is.

"Nice and easy really isn't it!" defence coach Brad Davies joked.

"Regardless of who they bring to the Liberty, they have got a huge amount of strength in depth. They're a side that is flying high at the top of the table so it's a huge challenge for us as a club but one that we have to look forward to and look to put in a fantastic performance.

"We need the points more than they do."

Davies admitted that he was hoping that the Ospreys' Welsh contingent would help boost the squad for the rest of the season, starting against Leinster.

"To be fair to every one of the Six Nations who represented Wales so well over the tournament, they've been in regular contact with Clarkey.

"They have all come out and said that they want to play on Saturday, which is a very positive sign of our environment."

Leinster will travel to the Liberty Stadium full of confidence, especially after Ireland won the Grand Slam last weekend.

With places up for grabs ahead of the Champions Cup quarter-final against Saracens, players will want to impress Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster.

Davies admitted that he was expecting James Lowe to be one of the major threats to his side's defence as the Ospreys look to stop the Kiwi's infectious flair.

With Luke McGrath due back for the Sarries clash, Lowe will be one of those players looking to ensure that he is involved at the Aviva Stadium as the 'two non-European' players per panel rule will again come into effect.

"I've been looking at a lot of footage, and he's a massive threat," Davies added.

Massive

"I've really enjoyed watching him play actually, obviously with a view that he is a massive threat to us.

"He really enjoys the game, looks like he's really settled in at Leinster. They are using him in a very positive and effective way for their team.

"He's just one of their many threats. If they bring (Jordan) Larmour over as well, he's an outstanding talent and that's just naming two of their guys.

"As a rival coach, you still look at those players and seeing the enjoyment they have playing the game. It's quite exciting just from a rugby perspective.

"It's going to be a huge challenge no doubt about it but it's one that we are really looking forward to."

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