Holley hopeful despite Wales call-ups
October 26, 2008
Shane Williams breaks clear for Ospreys against Worcester in the EDF Energy Cup © Getty Images
Ospreys coach Sean Holley has played down the impact of losing 14 players to Wales duty this week which could hamper his team's EDF Energy Cup semi-final hopes.
The likes of Gavin Henson, Shane Williams, James Hook and Ryan Jones will report for three days' Wales training tomorrow.
It comes after the Welsh Rugby Union won a High Court ruling on Friday which released Wales coach Warren Gatland's 32-man squad from the regions for national sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Cup holders the Ospreys must beat Madejski Stadium hosts London Irish next Sunday to secure a semi-final spot.
Holley will not have his major players back from their Wales commitments until Wednesday night.
But he said: ``The bulk of your work is done in pre-season these days, and as a squad we look pretty healthy.
``We will go about our business and I will pick a team accordingly. You plan your weeks well in advance and these guys are very experienced players.''
Henson, making his first appearance since completing a two-match ban imposed by the Ospreys earlier this month for missing training, and Williams were among the try-scorers in a 37-22 victory over Worcester.
Wing Nikki Walker and centre Tommy Bowe also crossed, while Hook kicked 17 points to leave Ospreys hovering around last-four qualification. Henson's score came after a 40-metre run, which included ghosting past Warriors' former Australian Test full-back Chris Latham, and proved the highlight of a hard-earned Ospreys win.
Holley added: ``There was a moment of magic with James Hook's pass to Gavin that put him into the midfield hole, but he still had a lot to do.
``Gavin showed his fitness and sharpness and it was great to see him finish off like that.
``It means a hell of a lot to try to retain this trophy. It is what is spurring us on, retaining the trophy for our fans and for our region. But London Irish had a good win against Harlequins yesterday and we know they are very much still in the mix.''
Hook's opposite number Matthew Jones also collected a 17-point haul from five penalties and a conversion of centre Sam Tuitupou's second-half try.
But Worcester boss Mike Ruddock admitted his team had been beaten by a better side on the day.
Ruddock said: ``We battled hard but the Ospreys took their chances well. We've got to rely on London Irish to do a job for us now. They are a very good team and they will be playing at home. We are not in control of the group. All we can do is try to get a win over Harlequins (next Sunday).''