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Ospreys seek end to hoodoo

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: December 31, 2012

Andrew Bishop

Andrew Bishop

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THE Ospreys will look to bury their Rodney Parade hoodoo (4.15pm) with Andrew Bishop pledging the Pro12 champions are in the mood to front up at a venue where they have won just once in ten visits.

"Mentally we will be right this time," vowed the Wales international ahead of the clash with the Dragons.

"There is huge confidence we can go anywhere and win."

The two sides will meet with the Ospreys looking for points to fuel their play-off challenge and the Dragons having only Zebre below them in the Pro12 table.

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Steve Tandy's side are certain to be buoyed by their 32-3 win over the Scarlets, which arrived just hours after the Dragons had lost to the Blues.

Grief

But having experienced so much grief in Newport on previous visits, the Ospreys insist complacency will be the least of their worries, with Bishop stressing they will have their business heads on.

"We have to treat this match differently because we haven't got a great record down there," he said. We need a different mindset.

"If they beat us it would be a huge win and a massive scalp for them given the way we are playing.

"But it is equally the case that it would be a huge scalp for us if we were to go there and get a victory after all the difficulties we have had over the years."

The Ospreys came agonisingly close to getting the job done last term, only for a last-second drop-goal attempt from Dan Biggar to hit the uprights, allowing the Dragons to claim the spoils at 21-20.

Woe

They did manage a success out east in 2007 when two tries from Shane Williams and one from Andy Lloyd helped seal a 27-13 triumph. Other than that, it's been woe all the way.

"I am not sure why we find things tough at Rodney Parade," said Bishop.

"All the boys love going there because it is a great atmosphere and we love that bit of banter with the crowd.

"But it is also a difficult place to go as well.

"The crowd are always quite hostile and in the past we have been affected by that.

"The weather conditions are not normally great and it is quite a heavy pitch which has not suited us in the past.

"There is also the point that the Dragons lift themselves when we visit and make things very difficult.

"We can't get sucked into the game they want to play. It would be disappointing to go there and lose after great performances against Toulouse and the Scarlets. We want to keep the momentum going into the new year."

Scrum-half Rhys Webb will miss the game after being banned for one match following an incident in the Boxing Day win over the Scarlets.

Webb had been cited over a stamping incident late in the 32-3 victory.

A Celtic Rugby statement said: "The player having admitted foul play, the disciplinary committee found that the act warranted a red card and having reviewed the footage of the incident and heard submissions from the player and his representative, found that the entry point was at low end reduced to one week in view the player's admittance of guilt and previous good record."

The hearings for Scarlets players Rob McCusker and Gareth Owen, who were both sent off in the match, will take place on Wednesday.

MARK ORDERS

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