Welcome To The West Wales Pressure Cooker!
Ospreys boss Toby Booth says staying calm in the pressure cooker will be crucial in Sunday’s west Wales derby against the Scarlets.
It’s a game that always has a bit extra on it and that will be no different in this weekend’s BKT URC showdown at the Swansea.com Stadium.
“Everyone knows the west Wales derby is a significant fixture,” said Booth.
“The boys look at it straight away as soon as the fixtures come out. Everyone knows how important it is.
“It’s a big game. With the connectivity and the proximity, if you were to ask the players which game is the most important one, they would probably say this one.
“We’ve gone well in it in recent times, which is great, and we know how important it is for our supporters.
“We need as many supporters in the ground as possible. That makes it a good environment for everyone.
“The Scarlets rested some players last week in relation to getting ready for this week, so that’s a compliment in itself.
“We know there is a lot on the line here, you can’t pretend there isn’t. Often these ones are about people that can keep their heads and stay calm in the pressure cook.
“We are excited about it. I am sure they are excited about it and hopefully it’s something to celebrate.
“My job is probably to keep everybody a little bit calm this week more than revving people up because they will do it themselves.”
Giving his take on the Scarlets, Booth said: “They want to be positive.
“I did the TV punditry on their game against Cardiff and they are obviously a passionate bunch.
“They have got some key individuals that can have a big influence on the game.
“If you look at the resources they have at 9 for example, they are very influential on the game. They have some big carriers as well and are a positive counter-attack team.
“We know they will try and impose themselves ball-in-hand, which they have always tried to do.
“I think we need to be very respectful of that and control the ball better than we did last week (against the Dragons) because, if not, there will be a lot of chasing shadows and no-one wants to be doing that, for sure.
“So we are very mindful of the threats they have and we are hoping to produce some threats of our own.
“It’s just about making sure we get a chance to attack well.”
The Ospreys will have prop Gareth Thomas and centre Keiran Williams back available for the derby, but flanker Justin Tipuric will be sidelined for 6-8 weeks as he requires surgery on the thumb he damaged in the 20-5 defeat to Dragons RFC.
Fellow back-five forward James Ratti was another casualty from the trip to Rodney Parade and also faces a lengthy lay-off with a shoulder injury.
As for the Scarlets, they are set to be reinforced by the likes of Gareth Davies, Vaea Fifita, Ioan Lloyd, Joe Roberts and Steff Evans who didn’t feature in last weekend’s 54-5 loss to Leinster in Dublin.
However, there’s a doubt over Wales back row forward Taine Plumtree who is carrying a shoulder problem.
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