Lions tourist Ryan Jones insists the Ospreys’ poor record in Dublin will have no impact on Saturday’s Magners League Grand Final.
The Ospreys arrived in the Irish capital earlier today knowing they will have to secure a first-ever win at the RDS to leave for home as Magners League Champions.
A narrow 20-16 loss last month was the Ospreys’ sixth straight defeat to Leinster and their fifth reverse in a row in Dublin – a record that stretches all the way back to 2005 – but Jones says that won’t affect his side’s confidence ahead of the biggest game of the season.
“That’s one of those things – it will have absolutely no bearing on tomorrow whatsoever,” said Jones, who will tour New Zealand with Wales next month having made the same journey with the Lions five years ago.
“The RDS is a great place to play. The fans are superb, they’re very vocal and they appreciate good rugby. It’s a good stadium and it’s somewhere we’re looking forward to playing.
“It’s going to be tough away from home. There’s going to be 15,000-odd Irishmen there cheering their team on. We’ve got to overcome that firstly, kick on, knuckle down and get our own house in order.
“It is a bit of an advantage to them and it’s something we’ve got to overcome early doors if we can. It’s something that we can’t afford to dwell on. We’ve just got to cater for that and get on with it.
“You don’t play at this level with the calibre of guys that we’re fortunate to have if you can’t cope with that environment. We’re quite fortunate that we’ve got a lot of experience and the guys know how to deal with it. It’s part and parcel of professional rugby and that’s the same in any sport.”
Although Jones and co haven’t tasted much success in Dublin itself they haven’t fared too badly on other trips across the Irish Sea.
On their last visit to Ireland they secured a famous victory over Munster at ‘Fortress’ Thomond Park having recorded a bonus-point win over Ulster at Ravenhill just three days before their loss to Leinster.
Jones says that trip was a positive experience for all involved in terms of squad morale and team spirit but that tomorrow will simply be about taking their chances, performing to the best of their ability and minimizing mistakes.
“We did have a good week when we came over here,” says Jones after the Ospreys stayed over in Ireland in between the Leinster and Ulster games.
“We’d tried to enjoy ourselves when we got the opportunity to do so. It was tough coming off the back of a very disappointing European loss out in Biarritz. But we came out, worked hard and got to play too.
“The work’s done now. It’s going to take a great team performance – a real cup final performance. The key is not to make mistakes and to control what we can.
“It’s about creating chances and taking them – that’s going to be the difference between winning and losing a cup final like tomorrow.”