Oct 20 2012
The Ospreys will renew a fierce Heineken Cup rivalry with Leicester on Sunday determined to showcase their European title credentials.
Despite boasting a star-studded squad for several seasons, the Ospreys have never progressed beyond the tournament's quarter-finals. But victory over the Tigers at Welford Road would set them up for back-to-back clashes in December with French giants Toulouse, and at the same time effectively knock Leicester out of contention.
"We realise the quality that Leicester have, the kicking game, the forward pack; they have the complete package and know about success in this competition," said Ospreys skipper Alun-Wyn Jones. "We are very aware of the threat they pose, especially at home."
Leicester are unchanged from the side beaten 23-9 by Toulouse last weekend, but Sale Sharks have recalled fly-half Danny Cipriani for their Pool Six appointment with Montpellier in France.
Cipriani played a decisive role off the bench last Sunday when Sale fought back from a 13-point deficit to beat Cardiff Blues 34-33. It was Sale's first win of the season.
"We gained a lot of confidence from the last 25 minutes last weekend, but not many teams go to France and win against the top six (French teams), no matter how well you've been playing," Sale rugby director Bryan Redpath said. "We need to maintain that level of performance and accuracy for longer."
Life is not about to get any easier for the Blues, with Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon their Arms Park visitors on Sunday.
Wilkinson apart, the line-up also includes former Blues prop Gethin Jenkins.
"Toulon are a powerful unit, a powerful team with world-class players in every position," said Blues boss Phil Davies, who has seen Wales internationals Sam Warburton (finger) and Jamie Roberts (ribs) both declared fit to tackle Wilkinson and company.
Sunday's other game sees Munster hosting Edinburgh in Pool One, while Wasps continue their Amlin Challenge Cup campaign away to Italian minnows Mogliano.