This rearranged fixture fell victim to a Covid case within the Osprey’s camp the first time around. Originally scheduled to be played on Saturday 28th November. This clash has been rescheduled twice since. It was initially penciled in to be played on Saturday 13th February. This would have deprived both sides of their star players, falling as it did, during the Six Nations. However, the postponement of the back to back rounds of Champions Cup games freed up this new fixture window.
Connacht coach Andy Friend will be anxious to get back to winning ways at the Sportsground. Interpro losses at home to both Ulster and Munster as well as a Champions cup defeat to Bristol at the Sportsground mean that Connacht have now lost three on the spin at home.
What is their form coming into this game?
During the week Friend categorised the three Interpro fixtures as the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good was their superb performance at the RDS in a historic 24-35 win for the visitors. The bad was their poor second-half performance against Ulster. Dan McFarland’s side made better use of the conditions to turn a 14-9 half-time deficit into a convincing 19-32 win for the visitors. The ugly was the scrappy loss to Munster last time out. Despite being outplayed for large parts of a fractured game, Connacht butchered a two-man advantage off a penalty scrum in the last play of the game. It should be added that they would have still needed to convert the try for the win, so that may have played on their minds as they crashed the ball up short, rather than using their numerical advantage out wide.
How about the visitors?
The Ospreys narrowly lost their local derby on St.Stephen’s day. A late Angus O’Brien try saw Scarlets edged it 16-14. The Ospreys bounced back well in their two January fixtures, as they recorded back to back away wins over Cardiff (17-3) and Dragons (28-20). The visitors now sit 3rd in Conference A, albeit 20 points adrift of Leinster and 25 behind leaders Ulster.
Teams will be announced at midday tomorrow (Saturday).