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Rupert Wyman 13th May 2010 - 15:40

Ospreys to fly into the Magners League final

In the Magners League's first ever semi-final the Ospreys host Glasgow at the Liberty Stadium. Each side is their respective nation's sole representative in the final four so national pride will be at stake.

Key to the semi-final is the fact that Ospreys have home advantage as a result of finishing second in the table, one point ahead of third-placed Glasgow.

The Liberty Stadium is something of a fortress for the Ospreys as they are unbeaten there since table-toppers Leinster were victorious on 18 September. Conversely though the Scottish side were the best away side in this year's Magners League, losing just three times.

Nevertheless Glasgow are yet to win in Wales against the Ospreys and I don't think this will change here.

The Welsh side are hot favourites at 1/4 to win in 80 minutes and with the Warriors without Scotland captain Chris Cusiter it definitely looks a great bet.

Cusiter is often lively at the back of the scrum and often gives his backs quick ball so he will be a big miss. His replacement is the experienced Mark McMillan and Sean Lineen believes he is the ideal replacement for Cusiter but as solid as McMillan may be he doesn't provide the same spark that Cusiter does.

However, even if Cusiter was playing such is the talent in the Ospreys' line-up that I would still fancy them to win.

One of the Welsh side's best players this term has been Tommy Rowe. He has notched a try every other game and his impressive form saw him crowned as the IRUPA's player of the year earlier this week.

The in-form winger can be backed at 9/1 to score the first try and 11/8 to cross the line at anytime during the 80 minutes.

My preference though is for James Hook to score a try at anytime at 9/4. Hook has had to have injections to get him through matches with his troublesome shoulder that desperately needs surgery, but he has still been an effective performer.

Glasgow's defence could focus too much on the pace and trickery of those outside of Hook which would leave gaps for the Welshman to exploit.

The game earlier on in the season in Wales between the sides finished all-square at 9-9 and I believe another close game is on the cards at the Liberty, but that this time the Ospreys' class will tell in the end.

Glasgow though do look the bet on the handicap, at 10/11, with an eight-point start. However, I think that their miserable record in Wales against the Ospreys will continue and it will be the Welsh side that fly into the inaugural Magners League Grand Final.



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