Saturday 4 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
# Pool 1
Scout's report: Pack can help Ospreys take Heineken Cup flight
Leinster head to the home of their bogey team on Saturday. Here’s what they can expect.

IT’S THE BOGEY team for Leinster this weekend.

The eastern province have managed just two wins in their last nine meetings against Ospreys and the Welsh side will be confident of continuing the impressive run of form into a second competition.


if you discount the 29 -29 draw at the RDS, The first big blip for Steve Tandy’s men popped up when they appeared to have Ulster beaten with a 12 – 0 lead after 45 minutes last Friday night. Paddy Jackson hit six penalties without reply and Ospreys slumped to their first defeat of the season.

imageJoe Bearman backed up by Alun Wyn Jones. ©INPHO/Ben Evans

They sit third in the Pro12, just three points off leaders Glasgow and three clear of Leinster. Ospreys also top the try-scoring charts in the league with 16, though only two games have yielded a try-scoring bonus point.

Key men

Take your pick of the Lions – Alun Wyn Jones, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Ian Evans and Justin Tipuric – in the pack, or look deeper at the evasive running of Eli Walker and Richard Fussell. Ospreys have quality all over the pitch and there is no one man the visitors can target to extinguish their threat.

Dan Biggar’s place-kicking has already derailed Leinster on numerous occasions and he will look to repeat the (usually last-minute) trick this weekend.

Players to watch out for

Scrum-half Tito Tebaldi had a big void to fill after the departure of Kahn Fotuali’i, but he has hit the ground running this season and provided continuity with fine service on top of a running threat.

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imageDan Biggar celebrates his Pro12 final winning conversion at the RDS IN 2012. ©INPHO/Billy Stickland


There’s not much wrong with that pack, and the presence of Jones and Evans in the second row beautifully compliment the balanced back row where Tipuric can Joe Bearman can wreak havoc  on the deck and with ball-in-hand respectively.


Matt O’Connor’s side won’t be daunted by the presence of Lions in the pack, they have their own in harness. Ospreys have been their own worst nightmare at times and struggle to put a full 80 minutes together. They’re a slave to a game’s rhythm, and can let a side back into a game ( as they did v Ulster) or allow them open up a commanding lead (as they’ve done against Leinster).

There is also the intangible weakness; Ospreys’ hoodoo over Ireland’s eastern province has come in Pro12 fixtures. This is the Heineken Cup, the competition Leinster have made their own, a competition in which Ospreys still have everything to prove.

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