Tommy Bowe

If you're still worried that the Munster forwards might have been drained following their Grand Slam exertions for Ireland, then you weren't watching the events at Thomond Park last weekend.

The resilience and the ruthlessness, particularly during the second half against Leinster, surely augurs well for what is the holders 11th successive appearance in the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup.

On one level, the Ospreys come trailing pace and skill, and if somehow they are able to utilise the bludgeon of Mike Phillips and the rapier of Shane Williams, then they should be a match for anyone.

But strip away the undoubted individual talent, notwithstanding the grafting honesty of a few of their forwards such as Alun-Wyn Jones and Marty Holah, the Ospreys are more shapers than genuine contenders.

"When the draw was made for the quarter-finals, my guess is that no one would have wanted to face us," suggested their deluded coach, Sean Holley. From what we could detect, there was no quaking in boots in the Munster camp.

If the absence of Lee Byrne, Gavin Henson, Jonathan Thomas and Duncan Jones isn't disadvantageous enough, it seems that the Ospreys occasionally suffer from a bit of an attitude problem as well. Apparently, what Holley says mightn't always go, and that Scott Johnson has already been installed as head honcho for next season is telling.

Even if the Ospreys shouldn't pose anything like the same physical threat as Clermont during the pool stages, Tony McGahan and his players won't be in the slightest bit complacent.

They are not about to throw it away on a day when John Hayes equals Anthony Foley's record of 86 appearances in Europe and when Ronan O'Gara has a chance to eclipse James Hook.

Expect Tommy Bowe (right) to be on the receiving end of a couple of early O'Gara garryowens, and watch out for what could be a fascinating head-to-head between Doug Howlett and Williams.

"There's no point in us being in this competition if we didn't believe we could win it," added Holley. "We're capable of beating anybody on our day."

Today won't be that day.

MUNSTER P Warwick; D Howlett, K Earls, L Mafi, I Dowling; R O'Gara, T O'Leary; M Horan, J Flannery, J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell (capt), A Quinlan, D Wallace, D Leamy Subs D Fogarty, T Buckley, M O'Driscoll, N Ronan, P Stringer, B Murphy, D Hurley

OSPREYS T Bowe; J Vaughton, S Parker, A Bishop, S Williams; J Hook, M Phillips; P James, H Bennett, A Jones, I Gough, A-W Jones, R Jones (capt), M Holah, F Tiatia Subs R Hibbard, C Griffiths, F Levi, A Lloyd, T Smith, J Nutbrown, D Biggar

Referee W Barnes (Eng)

Heineken Cup quarter-final

Munster v Ospreys

Thomond Park, 1.00

Live, Sky Sports 1, 12.45