Howlett wary of All Black threat
December 6, 2010
Doug Howlett is expecting a tough time against the Ospreys © Getty Images
Munster wing Doug Howlett has pinpointed his former All Black team-mates Jerry Collins and Marty Holah as threats prior to Sunday's Heineken Cup showdown with the Ospreys.
Munster have an unbeaten record against the Ospreys in European competition and humbled the star-studded Welsh region 43-9 in the 2009 quarter-finals, but Howlett has insisted that they will be taking the challenge very seriously this weekend as they look to maintain their grip on Pool 3.
Howlett was on the scoresheet twice as Munster routed Toulon 45-18 in the last round and has now set his sights on some familiar faces.
"I have played a fair few games both with and against Jerry and Marty and it is clear to everyone that they have had a huge effect on the Ospreys," he said.
"They are fantastic players and it is certainly no surprise to me that they are doing so well at the Ospreys. Collectively the Ospreys have one of the best squads in Europe - you just have to look at the names on the team sheet to see just how strong their squad is.
"I guess their greatest strength is the core group of players who have played in a lot of Tests together and when they come back from international duty and impose themselves at club level it is those periods of time together that really works for them. We know we are in for two huge matches against them and that we are really going to have to be at the top of our game home and away."
Ospreys coach Sean Holley is expecting a tough examination of their form and believes that the Munster have already proven their mettle after being written off in certain quarters earlier in the season.
"It is ludicrous that people wrote them off at the start of the season - and those comments and thoughts have probably spurred them on," he said. "We didn't really need that but we are improving and progressing and it should be a great couple of weeks.
"Munster have huge support, win, lose or draw. It does provide a cauldron but we have learnt to use that to our advantage. The players are used to playing in front of big crowds and in big games and we just have to get on with it."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
As Scotland decides its future, Scrum Sevens looks at a group of players who transcended rugby both for country and the British & Irish Lions
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup