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PRO 14    

'I have seen kick-offs go behind the kicker, seen conversions go through the posts and then back'

By Ian Cameron

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Ospreys head coach Toby Booth says his side will have to adapt to the Sportsground’s notoriously inclement weather conditions if they are to compete with Connacht in their Round 8 PRO14 fixture in Galway.

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The Ospreys are chasing their third successive away win following Welsh derby victories against Cardiff Blues (17-3) and Dragons (28-20) in their last two outings.

“I have not been out to Connacht for a few years but have had experience of being there in the European competitions,” said Booth. “I have seen kick-offs go behind the kicker, seen conversions go through the posts and then back through it, so we know we have to be adaptable with and without the wind.

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Gregor Townsend explains his selection:

“We know we need flexibility in what we do, and we will see what the conditions are, and the early reports are that it may be more favourable than a normal January. We know we need to be adaptable and resilient as a team because Galway on a potentially difficult Sunday afternoon will challenge us for sure.”

Meanwhile, Connacht have made seven changes to the side who narrowly lost to Munster last time out. Ireland scrumhalf Kieran Marmion starts and is partnered by Conor Fitzgerald, in what is a new look half-back partnership for Andy Friend’s team.

“It says a lot about the depth we have built here in Connacht that we can make seven changes from an interpro and still field a really strong side,” said Friend. “A number of players are getting their first starts in a month so will be eager to impress, and with the likes of Bundee and Abraham on the bench we’ll have some physicality to call on when needed.”

Ospreys: Dan Evans, George North, Owen Watkin, Keiran Williams, Mat Protheroe, Stephen Myler, Rhys Webb, Rhodri Jones, Sam Parry, Ma’afu Fia, Adam Beard, Rhys Davies, Will Griffiths, Justin Tipuric (CAPT), Dan Lydiate.

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Replacements: Ifan Phillips, Gareth Thomas, Tom Botha, Lloyd Ashley, Morgan Morris, Reuben Morgan-Williams, Josh Thomas, Keelan Giles.

Connacht: John Porch, Peter Sullivan, Tom Daly, Peter Robb, Alex Wootton, Conor Fitzgerald, Kieran Marmion, Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Jarrad Butler (CAPT), Conor Oliver, Paul Boyle (48).

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Matthew Burke, Conor Kenny, Gavin Thornbury, Abraham Papali’i, Caolin Blade, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy.

Venue: The Sportsground, Galway
Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU, 41st competition game)
Assistant Referees: Chris Busby, Rob O’Sullivan (both IRFU)
TMO: Olly Hodges (IRFU)

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PRO 14    

'I have seen kick-offs go behind the kicker, seen conversions go through the posts and then back'

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