Bleyen­daal can see Mun­ster home

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - RUGBY - JOHNNY WAT­TER­SON

Rassie Eras­mus has made just one change to his Mun­ster team from last week. But it is an im­por­tant one.

In comes out­half and cap­tain Tyler Bleyen­daal to lead Mun­ster against an Ospreys team that has be­gun the sea­son in more luke­warm than hot form.

A stut­ter­ing win over Treviso (22-13) at home in their open­ing match came be­fore los­ing to Glas­gow last week, where the Welsh side al­lowed the Scots a bonus point.

The wide at­tack­ing game Ospreys pre­fer to play has not quite fired for them with Glas­gow outscor­ing them four tries to one.

Ospreys are look­ing to James Hook and his 81 caps to snap them into shape as he made a mark com­ing off the bench last week. De­ci­sion mak­ing and cre­ativ­ity from in­side cen­tre is what coach Steve Tandy is look­ing for from the vet­eran. Tandy also has Dan Big­gar among the re­place­ments, ev­i­dently re­freshed af­ter his time with the Lions.

Six in­ter­na­tion­als

Dan Ly­di­ate, who has not played since Novem­ber 2016, is also on a for­mi­da­ble bench that in­cludes six in­ter­na­tion­als. Ospreys are slowly re­turn­ing to strength.

But Mun­ster have hit the ground run­ning with two bonus-point wins against Chee­tahs and Treviso, per­haps noth­ing to write home about.

With Eras­mus mak­ing min­i­mal changes, he’s look­ing for co­he­sion and con­sis­tency from his team in Mun­ster’s tough­est chal­lenge so far.

Si­mon Zebo is, for the sec­ond week, dan­ger­ously po­si­tioned on the bench with four-try Alex Woot­ton, Chris Far­rell, An­drew Con­way, Dar­ren Sweet­nam and Jaco Taute again in a back­line that knows how to score.

“We set our­selves up well, but we let our­selves down with that lack of ac­cu­racy at key mo­ments that meant we lacked the clin­i­cal edge that would have given the score­board a dif­fer­ent look,” said Tandy about his side’s loss to Glas­gow.

“We are re­ally look­ing for­ward to Satur­day af­ter­noon and test­ing our­selves against a team that have started re­ally well with back-to-back home wins in the first two rounds.

“We know what to ex­pect from Mun­ster, in that they’ll be phys­i­cal, well or­gan­ised and clin­i­cal, and we have to match that.”

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