Friday, 11 January 2013

Murphy dropped for crunch Heineken Cup clash

Richard Cockerill has made a massive call by selecting new boy Matt Tait ahead of club captain Geordan Murphy for this Sunday's trip to Swansea.  Tait set up the first try last weekend and played a key part in third but has been very shaky under the high ball this season and generally in fielding kicks, often being caught out of position and letting the ball bounce.  Murphy has been in the form of his life, but more than that he provides an edge.  A physical edge as shown at home to Bath but also a calming edge as shown away to Treviso, he knows the tempo needed and how to achieve it.  TO start with Tait is a fine call, but to not even have Murphy on the bench is bizarre.  Their are some reports that Murphy has suffered an injury in training, hopefully this is true as its far better than the alternative of Cockerill losing his mind.

Louis Deacon will captain the side on his 60th appearance in the Heineken Cup, whilst Dan Cole will play his hundredth game for his home town team.  If Matt Smith comes off the bench he will make his 25th European appearance whilst Martin Castrogiovanni will be sure to come off the bench and make his 140th appearance in Tigers colours.  

After his mid week clearance for a spear tackle Toby Flood carries on at 10 and is joined by the rest of the Awesome Foursome in Tigers midfield.  However much Murphy's absence makes me worried the presence of the Awesome Foursome is equally reassuring.  

In the back row Cockerill has had to make another big call.  This time between a reinvigorated Jordan Crane and Thomas "the Tank" Waldrom .  He has gone for our Lord and Saviour JC with Waldrom on the bench designed to come on against tiring bodies and make an impact.  I think this is a great call as JC was back to his disruptive best against Gloucester.

15 Mathew Tait
14 Niall Morris
13 Manusamoa Tuilagi
12 Anthony Allen
11 Adam Thompstone
10 Toby Flood
9 Ben Youngs
1 Marcos Ayerza
2 Tom Youngs
3 Dan Cole
4 Louis Deacon (c)
5 Geoff Parling
6 Steve Mafi
7 Julian Salvi
8 Jordan Crane

16 Rob Hawkins
17 Logovi'i Mulipola
18 Martin Castrogiovanni
19 Ed Slater
20 Thomas Waldrom
21 Sam Harrison
22 George Ford
23 Matt Smith

Despite injury fears earlier in the week for Justin Tipuric and Ian Gough both are fit to take their part.  Tipuric is a massive boost for the Ospreys as he is currently the second most prolific ball snatcher (not in the Gareth Thomas sense) in the Heineken Cup. Tiredness may be a factor as this will be the Ospreys 4th game in 16 days and similar teams have featured in all of them.

15 Richard Fussell
14 Ross Jones
13 Tom Isaacs
12 Andrew Bishop
11 Eli Walker
10 Dan Biggar
9 Kahn Fotuali'i (c)
1 Ryan Bevington
2 Richard Hibbard
3 Adam Jones
4 Ian Gough
5 James King
6 Ryan Jones
7 Justin Tipuric
8 Joe Bearman

16 Scott Baldwin
17 Duncan Jones
18 Campbell Johnstone
19 Lloyd Peers
20 Sam Lewis/Jonathan Thomas
21 Rhys Webb
22 Matthew Morgan
23 Jonathan Spratt

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