Holley relishes Gloucester clash
November 3, 2008
The Ricoh Arena in Coventry will play host to both semi-finals © Getty Images
Ospreys boss Sean Holley is relishing the prospect of a cup "decider" against Gloucester later this season.
The EDF Energy Anglo-Welsh Cup holders reached their third successive Anglo-Welsh semi-final after securing a losing bonus point in a 23-19 defeat against Madejksi Stadium hosts London Irish. And it now sends the Ospreys to Coventry's Ricoh Arena on March 28, where Gloucester will await.
The teams fought two epic battles in last season's Heineken Cup, with Gloucester winning 26-18 at Kingsholm before Ospreys claimed an impressive 32-15 triumph in the return. The other semi-final will be between Cardiff Blues and Northampton.
Holley said: "That is a good draw. There is an English-Welsh flavour to both semis, which makes the interest in this competition go right down to the wire. We are delighted to get through into another semi-final for our fans and for the players. We will look forward to it.
"We played Gloucester in another competition last year, and we were one each, so let's play the decider."
Ospreys were indebted to an immaculate goalkicking performance by James Hook, whose 14-point haul included a penalty from two metres inside his own half. Holley's coaching lieutenant Jonathan Humphreys added: "James has been a bit disappointed with his kicking recently. But he really stepped up when we needed him. He was in the groove."
Irish shaded the try-count two to one, courtesy of quality tries by centre Seilala Mapusua and Sailosi Tagicakibau, who will both be on Pacific Islands duty against England at Twickenham next Saturday. Ospreys' bonus point rendered the game between Worcester and Harlequins relatively meaningless, but Quins were impressive 27-14 winners at Sixways as Seb Stegmann, Chris Robshaw and Tosh Masson scored tries.
There was a bright spot for Worcester, though, with captain Pat Sanderson marking his first appearance of the season after injury by claiming a try. Gloucester shaded Kingston Park hosts Newcastle 11-10 thanks to a late try by substitute flanker Apo Satala.
Head coach Dean Ryan admitted: "We made hard work of it, and Newcastle deserve credit. They worked very hard."
The Falcons were already out of semi-final contention after suffering successive defeats against Newport Gwent Dragons and Wasps. And Gloucester's win made Wasps' 21-10 Adams Park victory over the Dragons academic. Northampton booked their semi-final berth by beating the Scarlets on Saturday, while the Blues saw off Bath less than 24 hours earlier, making it three successive victories in their qualifying pool.
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