Preview: Ospreys v London Irish

For the first time this season London Irish are able to select an all-international front row for the EDF Energy Cup match away to the Ospreys at Liberty Stadium on Sunday.

The Exiles’ latest arrival, All Black prop Clarke Dermody, makes his debut in the front row alongside former Springbok hooker, Danie Coetzee and Tongan international, Tonga Lea’aetoa. The three players have a total of 38 international caps for their countries between them.

Also making their first starts of the season are Ireland international flanker, Aidan McCullen, centre Bryan Rennie and second rows James Hudson and Gary Johnson. Having come off the bench in five of the club’s previous games this season Warren Fury starts at scrum-half on his return to his home town.

His partner at fly-half is Eoghan Hickey, who joined the Exiles from Munster during the summer.

“Ospreys are the form team as you can tell from their recent performances in the Celtic League and the EDF Energy Cup,” said Brian Smith, London Irish Director of Rugby.

“They are overwhelming favourites to win this game especially at Liberty Stadium. We will have to be ferocious and tenacious in defence if we are to cause an upset. We believe that if we get it right, we can come away with a win.”

Form: Ospreys have lost just once in any competition at Liberty Stadium since May 2006: 9-14 to Llanelli Scarlets in the Magners League on 11 September 2007. Ospreys only defeat in their last seven encounters in the EDF Energy Cup was in last season’s final at Twickenham. London Irish have not won a game in the EDF Energy Cup since a 36-24 victory at home to Saracens on 30 September 2006, whilst their last away win in any competition was 12-7 at Bristol in the Premiership on 10 March 2007. The two sides have not met before in a competitive match.

Ospreys: tbc

London Irish: 15 Tim Curran, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Bryan Rennie, 12 Nils Mordt, 11 Tomas De Vedia, 10 Eoghan Hickey, 9 Warren Fury, 8 Phil Murphy, 7 Richard Thorpe, 6 Aidan McCullen, 5 Gary Johnson, 4 James Hudson, 3 Tonga Lea’aetoa, 2 Danie Coetzee (c), 1 Clarke Dermody.
Replacements: 16 Tom Warren, 17 Stuart Mackie, 18.Richard Skuse, 19 Steffon Armitage, 20 Jon Fisher, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Mark Ireland.

Date: Sunday, November 4
Venue: Liberty Stadium, Swansea
Kick-off: 16:10
Referee: Rob Debney (England)
Touch judges: Paul Dix (England), Bob Mullis (England)
Assessor: Jim Bailey (Wales)
Television match official: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales)


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