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Preview: Connacht Rugby v Ospreys Rugby

client 6 Sep 2016
Tiernan O'Halloran

Connacht’s Guinness PRO12 title defence got off to a tough start with defeat at Glasgow Warriors, but prop Ronan Loughney insists complacency is not an issue as they target a first win of the season against Ospreys.

The Irish province fell 41-5 to the Warriors, who ran riot at the Sportsground with Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour particularly impressive.

Connacht have made four changes to their side against Ospreys, with Ireland internationals Tiernan O’Halloran and Kieran Marmion drafted into the back line to shake things up.

Ospreys started their campaign in style with a 59-5 win over Zebre which saw them go top of the table and Loughney has warned the champions that they face a tough weekend.

“People may say there was a bit of complacency creeping in, but from our point of view we had what felt like a good pre- season,” he told the Irish Examiner.

“There has been a great buzz. We have competition for places and we are in as good a position as we have ever been. There is no excuses there.

“For us it’s about refocusing and getting back to the basics. That’s where our game flows from. We are really good when we get that small detail right within the game.

“That’s what this training week is all about. It’s a tough week but we’ll be refocusing and trying to get things right this weekend.”

Ospreys coach Steve Tandy is prepared for a Connacht backlash and has made three changes of his own, as he hopes to build momentum after last weekend’s win.

Tandy will be boosted by the long-awaited debut of Wales international lock Bradley Davies, who makes his first Ospreys appearance since signing from Wasps in the off-season.

The 29-year-old is joined by Rhys Webb, who also comes into the side along with Barry John, while hat-trick hero Sam Parry retains his place ahead of Welsh Test hooker Scott Baldwin.

“It’s hostile, the crowd is on top of you, and the weather conditions, which they know so well, always plays a part,” Tandy said.

“Last weekend’s result against Glasgow wasn’t an accurate reflection of how Connacht played, I thought they were particularly good in the first half, and what it means is they will be more fired up than ever on Saturday night.”

Despite scoring eight tries against Zebre, Tandy is demanding a better performance from his team as they look to avenge two defeats to Connacht last season.

The Irish side won 21-16 in Wales before clinching a 30-22 win at the Sportsground, and full-back Dan Evans has highlighted one particular threat.

“We just have to travel with the same mentality. Their strengths were clear for everyone to see last season,” he said.

“They are committed at forward but also dangerous when they spread the ball and Bundee Aki is a threat in midfield.

“We’ll need to keep him quiet, but it’s about us as well. We have to stick to our game; hopefully, it will pay off.”

Connacht: O’Halloran, Adeolokun, Griffin, Aki, Healy, Carty, Marmion; Loughney, McCartney, Bealham, Dillane, Qualter, McKeon, Connolly, Muldoon (c)

Replacements: Heffernan, Robertson-McCoy, Cooney, Stevenson, Moloney, Blade, O’Leary, Poolman

Ospreys: Evans, Hassler, John, Matavesi, Walker, Davies, Webb (c); Smith, Parry, Arhip, Davies, Thornton, Cracknell, Tipuric, Ardron

Replacements: Baldwin, James, Fia, Ashley, King, Baker, Habberfield, Howells

Overall Guinness PRO12 head to head record: 

Played 26, Connacht won 8, Ospreys won 18.

At Sportsground, 7.35pm. Live on TG4/S4C
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU, 26th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Claudio Blessano (FIR), Leo Colgan (IRFU)
Citing Commissioner: Tim Lowry (IRFU)
TMO: Alan Falzone (FIR)

Guinness PRO12 Final 2017 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 adults and €5 child, and be booked via For further information visit

Historical Lineup Pre Opta (sfms data) - Preview - v2

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Rhys Webb stars as Ospreys maintain 100% start with Connacht win

Phil Jones 10 Sep 2016

Three tries in the last ten minutes handed Ospreys a 32-11 victory at reigning Guinness PRO12 champions Connacht.

Rhys Webb grabbed himself two tries as Tyler Ardron and Jeffrey Hassler also got on the scoresheet, with Sam Davies kicking 12 points for the travelling region.

Conor McKeon got Connacht’s try and Jack Carty kicked points but Connacht’s title defence has yet to get off the ground, while Ospreys made it two wins from two this season.

Davies kicked the scoreboard into action in the fifth minute, before Ospreys conceded a penalty immediately from the restart, but Carty missed the kick.

The opening fifteen minutes were all Ospreys but Dan Evans lost possession when well-placed and the pressure was relieved.

Connacht then levelled through a Carty penalty on 19 minutes, but the Welsh side were ahead ten minutes later as Webb got the first of his try-double.

The scrum-half combined with number eight Ardron and crossed to put Ospreys five ahead, before Davies extended the lead with the conversion.

Connacht tried to hit back before the half-time whistle, but they failed to get over the line and the visitors went into the break seven points ahead.

But the home side did narrow the gap six minutes into the second half, through a Carty penalty, and they were given more hope when Ardron was sin-binned.

They took full advantage of Osprey’s reduction in men and flanker McKeon crossed to put them into a narrow lead, which Carty failed to extend when he missed the conversion.

The lead lasted all of four minutes though as Ospreys hit back through a Davies penalty, after Connacht were penalised at the scrum.

And the rest of the game was all Ospreys Adrdon capped a fine display with a try on 72 minutes, diving over after a period of considered build-up – Davies missing the conversion.

But the miss would not matter as three minutes later Webb crossed for his second after an interception from centre Ben John, and this time Davies had no trouble bisecting the posts.

The bonus point was confirmed with three minutes to play as Canadian winger Hassler crossed the whitewash, after fine work from full-back Dan Evans.

Davies added the conversion and Ospreys continued their fine start to the season, which sees them top the Guinness PRO12 table, alongside Glasgow Warriors as the only two sides with two bonus-point wins.

Guinness PRO12 Final 2017 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 adults and €5 child, and be booked via For further information visit

Match Page 2017-18 - Summary WP:137

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Performance WP:138