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Top two face off in Wales

Thursday, 16th February, 2017 1:00am

Ireland have a free weekend as they prepare for their next Six Nations clash against France on 25 February in Dublin.

A comprehensive nine try mauling of Italy last weekend, when Ireland won 63-10, sees the national side in a stronger position following the first round loss to Scotland.

It is expected that Munster captain Peter O’Mahony will be available for the French clash, as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury.

However, Director of Rugby at Munster Rassie Erasmus confirmed, that although O’Mahony has been training with the province at UL this week, the flanker will sit out the top of the table PRO12 clash with Ospreys in Wales this weekend.

The round 15 clash will see Munster travel to Wales to defend the one point lead they currently hold over Ospreys at Liberty Stadium, a tough task considering Ospreys have won all but one of their home games with a try-scoring bonus point.

Erasmus said: “We’re playing a team knowing that they will go top of the table if they beat us, so it’s a massive challenge. Both sides have to handle international players coming in and out.

“More players should be available and that will influence preparation and selection this week.

“We have eight games left in the PRO12 and if you lose one or two the pressure is on just to be in the top four, so that’s in the back of your head,” he said.

Erasmus concluded: “It just means you can’t take your eye off the ball and that’s where we have to look at it game by game, because Ospreys are a classic example of a team that can rip you apart if you let anything slip.”

Meanwhile the IRFU confirmed this week that Irish captain Jamie Heaslip has signed a new contract keeping him in Ireland until at least the end of the Rugby World Cup in 2019.

Heaslip said; “My aim when I started my professional rugby career was to leave the jersey – either the blue of Leinster or the green of Ireland – in a better place than when I first put it on and this new contract gives me the chance to continue to chase this dream.”

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