Friday 19 January 2018

Reds out to halt bogey team

Munster boss Rassie Erasmus. Photo: Sportsfile
Munster boss Rassie Erasmus. Photo: Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

A record scoreline ensued when Ospreys last travelled to play Munster, but that 33-0 defeat at Irish Independent Pork is unlikely to be repeated at Thomond Park.

In fact Ospreys have won two of their last three visits to the province, with Munster's memorable semi-final win of 2014-15 the only blip on the Swansea men's report card since then.

Last season Ospreys were 21-17 winners when they came to Cork, and the previous season they also won out with a 19-14 win at Thomond Park.

And those wins were far from surprises either, with five wins and a draw to their name on Munster soil since the advent of professional game. Other than Leinster, Ospreys are statistically the most difficult team for Munster to beat in the Guinness Pro12.

On recent form Munster must be regarded as favourites, though. Scarlets were the last team to beat Rassie Erasmus' side in the league in February - their only defeat in the competition since Leinster turned them over last October.

Conversely, Ospreys have suffered a stuttering second half of the season with defeats in four of their last five games, which caused them to lose out on a possible home semi-final.

However, during their recent 22-10 win at home to Ulster, Ospreys displayed some of the exciting backline play they conjured earlier in the season.

Munster have won four of their seven semi-finals, and Ospreys have two wins from four appearances in the last four of the Pro12. But there remains the staggering statistic that no away team has ever won a Pro12 semi-final in 18 attempts. Will Ospreys become the first team to buck that trend?

Irish Independent

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