Connacht v Ospreys – Preview & Starting teams

Connacht look to return to winning ways at home.

Alex Wootton has made the most of his game time out west this season. He leads the way in the try-scoring stakes for Connacht. Photo credit: Joe Naughton

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Guinness PRO14

Connacht v Ospreys

The Sportsground, Galway – Sunday 24th January 2021 @3pm

This rearranged fixture fell victim to a Covid case within the Osprey’s camp the first time around. Originally scheduled to be played on Saturday 28th November. This clash has been rescheduled twice since. It was initially penciled in to be played on Saturday 13th February. This would have deprived both sides of their star players, falling as it did, during the Six Nations. However, the postponement of the back to back rounds of Champions Cup games freed up this new fixture window.

Connacht coach Andy Friend will be anxious to get back to winning ways at the Sportsground. Interpro losses at home to both Ulster and Munster as well as a Champions cup defeat to Bristol at the Sportsground mean that Connacht have now lost three on the spin at home.

What is their form coming into this game?

During the week Friend categorised the three Interpro fixtures as the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good was their superb performance at the RDS in a historic 24-35 win for the visitors. The bad was their poor second-half performance against Ulster. Dan McFarland’s side made better use of the conditions to turn a 14-9 half-time deficit into a convincing 19-32 win for the visitors. The ugly was the scrappy loss to Munster last time out. Despite being outplayed for large parts of a fractured game, Connacht butchered a two-man advantage off a penalty scrum in the last play of the game. It should be added that they would have still needed to convert the try for the win, so that may have played on their minds as they crashed the ball up short, rather than using their numerical advantage out wide.

How about the visitors?

The Ospreys narrowly lost their local derby on St.Stephen’s day. A late Angus O’Brien try saw Scarlets edged it 16-14. The Ospreys bounced back well in their two January fixtures, as they recorded back to back away wins over Cardiff (17-3) and Dragons (28-20). The visitors now sit 3rd in Conference A, albeit 20 points adrift of Leinster and 25 behind leaders Ulster.

Team News

Connacht

Number/Name/Caps
15. John Porch (29)
14. Peter Sullivan (7)
13. Tom Daly (36)
12. Peter Robb (45)
11. Alex Wootton (11)
10. Conor Fitzgerald (28)
9. Kieran Marmion (174)
1. Denis Buckley (190)
2. Dave Heffernan (136)
3. Finlay Bealham (148)
4. Ultan Dillane (106)
5. Quinn Roux (106)
6. Jarrad Butler (65) (c)
7. Conor Oliver (12)
8. Paul Boyle (48)

16. Shane Delahunt (88)
17. Matthew Burke (18)
18. Conor Kenny (9)
19. Gavin Thornbury (48)
20. Abraham Papali’i (4)
21. Caolin Blade (120)
22. Bundee Aki (105)
23. Matt Healy (142)

Ospreys

Ospreys

15. Dan Evans

14. George North

13. Owen Watkin

12. Keiran Williams

11. Mat Protheroe

10. Stephen Myler

9. Rhys Webb

 

1.Rhodri Jones

2. Sam Parry

3. Ma’afu Fia

4. Adam Beard

5. Rhys Davies

6. Will Griffiths

7. Justin Tipuric ©

8. Dan Lydiate

 

16. Ifan Phillips

17. Gareth Thomas

18. Tom Botha

19. Lloyd Ashley

20. Morgan Morris

21. Reuben Morgan-Williams

22. Josh Thomas

23. Keelan Giles

Conference Tables

Did you know?
• Connacht’s last three matches in the Guinness PRO14 have all strangely been won by the away side on the day.
• Connacht have lost their last three matches at The Sportsground in all competitions since beating Benetton there on 4 December.
• Ospreys have lost just once in any tournament since mid-November: 14-16 against Scarlets in Llanelli on 26 December.
• Ospreys only victory in their last thirteen matches against Irish provinces in the PRO14 was 26-24 at home to Ulster in February 2020.
• Ospreys most recent victory away to an Irish province was over Connacht at The Sportsground in September 2016.
• Connacht have won their last two matches against Ospreys and have only once before won three in succession against the Welshmen, between 2003-2004.

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