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Booth hoping Euro win will boost Xmas derbies

Ospreys - multi-coloured winners in Montpellier

Booth hoping Euro win will boost Xmas derbies

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Ospreys head coach Toby Booth has called on his side to use their Heineken Champions Cup victory over Montpellier to kickstart their URC campaign when they face the Scarlets at the Swansea.com Stadium on Boxing Day.

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The Swansea-based side recorded a stunning 21-10 victory away to the French title champions thanks to tries from hooker Sam Parry, centre Kieran Williams and Player of the Match No 8 Morgan Morris.

Booth’s side had managed one win all season before the victory in France and now host their biggest rivals, the Scarlets, in the traditional West Wales derby the day after Christmas.

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The Ospreys will be looking to turn around their season against the Scarlets and then Cardiff at the Arms Park on New Year’s Day before they face Irish powerhouse Leinster at home.

“To get some momentum back in our season is really important. It’s been a massive emotional rollercoaster for a lot of people and it’s been more up and down than we’d like,” said Booth.

“We’re hopeful this is a benchmark performance we can build on. The adrenaline of victory often carries you through dark times, so I am pleased that we have got something to trade on.

“Nothing beats winning, we are here to win. Now we’ve got two Welsh derbies, then Leinster and then back into Europe. The treadmill keeps on rolling, but the win in Montpelier was a massive shot in the arm for confidence and belief in what we are doing.

“I’m just pleased for the boys and the supporters because there’s been a lot of toil and effort. To get the right side of the result and turn that corner is great.

“We invest a lot of effort and time into what we do and people care about it. I know what people had to put in to get a result like that and I’m super pleased for them.”

Booth revealed how important the Ospreys victory over the French title-holders was coming a week after the disappointment of losing at home to Leicester in their opening Heineken Champions Cup Pool game.

“We worked very hard to get into the competition, it is what we aimed for. We ended up getting the English champions and the French champions,” said Booth.

“Montpellier is a very difficult place to go and they are a very physical side. You don’t win the Top 14 by accident.

“There was an arm wrestle and we fought tooth and nail to combat that. We were on the back foot at times, but we found a way – good teams always find a way and we’ve got some good players.

“The most impressive thing was we stood steadfast and we didn’t give anything away. I was so proud of them for their attitude and what they’ve gone through to get to this.”

Ospreys captain Justin Tipuric echoed his coach’s call when he declared his side had to back up their victory against Montpellier when they face their closest rivals, the Scarlets, at home.

“It’s about consistency and backing up week-in, week-out. We’re not getting carried away with it, it was a good win, but we still have a lot to work on,” said Tipuric.

“We’ll enjoy it and hopefully push on for Boxing Day against the Scarlets. That’s obviously one of the big days in the calendar that everyone looks forward to.”

Booth has recalled the world’s most capped player, Alun Wyn Jones, into his squad for the game. He comes onto the bench to replace Huw Sutton as second row cover from the matchday 23 that triumphed in Montpellier.

Jac Morgan moves up into the starting XV to replace Ethan Roots, who drops to the bench. There is also a complete change in the front row, with Nicky Smith, Scott Baldwin and Tomas Francis starting in place of Gareth Thomas, Sam Parry and Tom Botha, who drop to the bench.

Ospreys: Max Nagy; Alex Cuthbert, Michael Collins, Keiran Williams, Luke Morgan; Owen Williams, Rhys Webb; Nicky Smith, Scott Baldwin, Tomas Francis, Rhys Davies, Adam Beard, Jac Morgan, Justin Tipuric (captain), Morgan Morris

Replacements: Sam Parry, Gareth Thomas, Tom Botha, Alun Wyn Jones, Ethan Roots, Reuben Morgan Williams, Jack Walsh, Joe Hawkins

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