Tandy: We have a knack of beating Munster09/05/2012 - 10:48:04
Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy admits his side have enjoyed the better of their recent exchanges with Munster but he is taking nothing for granted ahead of Friday night’s RaboDirect PRO12 semi-final at the Liberty Stadium (7.35pm).
The Welsh outfit came away from Thomond Park with a 17-13 win back in October before beating Tony McGahan’s men 19-13 in Swansea.
Only the Glasgow Warriors have come away from the Liberty Stadium with a win in the PRO12 this season but Munster have lost just once on the road in 2012 and Tandy expects the Irish province to come out all guns blazing on Friday.
“Munster are a fantastic team,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to beat them twice this year.
“I think defence is going to be huge for us on Friday night as it was the last two times we played them.
“We seem to have a knack of beating Munster but saying that we know it’s going to be a really difficult test on Friday night because they have that big game in them.”
Munster’s inspirational second row Paul O’Connell has been ruled out of the game having suffered a knee injury in last weekend’s victory over Ulster.
Damien Varley is another confirmed absentee for Friday’s clash while Munster continue to still assess the fitness of Ronan O’Gara, who has been nursing a leg injury since the Heineken Cup defeat to Ulster.
The absence of such important players could hand the Ospreys a big advantage but Tandy believes Munster have the strength in depth to cope.
“They are big players but as with most great teams Munster will find someone else to step in, we’ve seen Donncha O’Callaghan, Donnacha Ryan and Mick O’Driscoll.
“They’ve still got plenty of seasoned internationals. They seem to find someone else, which all great teams do and I would class them as a great team.”
The two defeats this season interrupted what had been a good run of form for Munster against the Ospreys which included Liberty Stadium triumphs in 2009 and 2011.
Tandy believes their recent change in fortune against the Irish province reflects an overall improvement within the squad.
“We’ve grown as a team, we’ve matured.
“We went through a patch of not beating Munster. It’s always difficult going there and they put in some decent performances against us and showed us the ropes a few times.
“But we’ve got a good squad and when we beat Munster at the (Liberty) Stadium a lot of our core players were playing.
“You’ve got to be at your best to beat Munster on any given occasion.”
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