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Tuesday 30 May 2017

Erasmus is wary of Ospreys who can turn 'nothing into something'

Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus during squad training at the University of Limerick in Limerick. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus during squad training at the University of Limerick in Limerick. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has signposted The Ospreys' ability to make something out of nothing as Munster's greatest danger for the Guinness PRO12 semi-final on Saturday.

"They play a brand, not quite as expansive as Connacht, but they certainly like the ball in hand as a team," said the South African.

"When everyone's fit, they have got tremendous individual X-factor players like (Keelan) Giles to (Dan) Biggar), Rhys (Webb).

"They've so many guys who can turn nothing into something and they have this appetite for attack - that's their biggest strength."

That sounds like it could well play into the hands of Jacques Nienaber's defence.

Superior attack

For, when it comes to championship play-offs, it is generally the superior defence which outmanoeuvres the superior attack.

Take Saracens against Clermont-Auvergne in The Champions Cup final.

However, The Ospreys are capable of snapping out of their lack-lustre form of late.

They would have wiped the slate clean from losing four out of their last five in the League to hand over the treasure trove that is a home semi-final.

They are not afraid to travel and have a history for spoiling Irish parties.

They showed Leinster what they thought of hometown advantage by gutting them 17-12 in the first play-off final at The RDS in 2010.

They even had the gall to repeat that grand larceny in an unforgettable 31-30 final in 2012.

Now, The RDS is not Thomond Park, as Dublin 4 is not Limerick.

The quiet corporate observation, so appallingly apparent in The Showgrounds, pales beside the intimidation of true passion on Shannonside.

The Welsh club has enough big characters, like their British & Irish Lions Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, Webb and Biggar to get on with and get into the game.

"You create your own reality, you know," asserted Erasmus.

"The reality is not what the neighbours, the fans or the reporters say. The reality is what you create for yourself.

"If we were listening to what the reality was before we went into Europe or PRO12, we wouldn't have had a chance.

"You have to create your own reality and I'm sure Ospreys are doing that."

Moreover, the Welsh club and Leinster lead the PRO12 title-count with four each, one ahead of Munster.

"They know that with everyone fit and firing, with the performances they have delivered this year at some stages were phenomenal - they were on fire.

"We were underdogs going into Toulouse, games against Racing and you don't listen to what other people are saying.

"That's what makes me nervous. They'll be tight and they will believe."

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