Ospreys aim to end Leinster double bid

PA Sport
Shane Williams

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Shane Williams

The Ospreys will aim to halt Leinster's bid for a European and domestic double in its tracks on Sunday when they contest the RaboDirect PRO12 final.

Just a week after winning the Heineken Cup for a third time in four seasons, Leinster are back on the trail of silverware. The Irish heavyweights will also have home advantage in Dublin, which compounds the Ospreys' degree of difficulty.

"Leinster are a great team," Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy said. "What they have achieved in Europe over the last four years speaks for itself, and the nature of their win against Ulster last weekend means that they will be full of confidence."

He went on: "Playing at home in front of their own fans is another bonus for them and will make the task even more difficult for us. But previous games won't count for a thing on Sunday. It is all about the day and who handles the pressure the best.

"We know that we have to improve in certain areas. We were guilty of putting ourselves under unnecessary pressure in the Munster semi-final, and that meant we had to rely too heavily on our defence.

"We don't want to have to do that on Sunday. We want to try and be more composed and look to dictate territory better. We will obviously do our homework and analysis on Leinster, but the key thing for us is about our own performance. We have to be clinical."

Wing Shane Williams, Wales' record international try-scorer, makes his final Ospreys appearance before retirement in a team led by his former Test colleague Alun-Wyn Jones.

Caretaker Wales coach Rob Howley, meanwhile, will also keep a close eye on events, especially as 11 of the Ospreys' starting XV are part of his training squad for next week's clash against the Barbarians and three-Test Australia tour.

Lock Leo Cullen will again lead Leinster into battle, although it is not the same line-up that accounted for Heineken Cup final opponents Ulster 42-14 at Twickenham last Saturday.

The back division is unchanged, but up-front there are starts for prop Heinke van der Merwe, hooker Sean Cronin, lock Devon Toner and flanker Shane Jennings. A knee injury sidelines flanker Sean O'Brien, while prop Cian Healy (dead leg) faces a late fitness test that will decide whether or not he features among the substitutes.

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