Biarritz fear Ospreys threat
Grand Slam star anticipates tough encounter against Welsh side
By Rachel Griffiths. Last Updated: 06/04/10 1:42pm
Harinordoquy: Wary of Ospreys
Talismanic Biarritz No.8 Imanol Harinordoquy admits his side are wary of the experienced Ospreys line-up ahead of their Heineken Cup quarter-final clash.
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"Their entire back row has got massive experience and I think that in all positions they have heaps of serious candidates."
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The French club will meet Ospreys for the first time at Estadio Anoeta in the Spanish city of San Sebastian on Saturday, with the victors set to enjoy home comforts for the semi-finals against the winner of the other quarter-final between Munster and Northampton.
And influential utility Harinordoquy, whose heroics helped boost France to Grand Slam glory in the Six Nations last month, concedes the Welsh region boast a formidable squad.
"We have never faced the Ospreys but we expect a really tough game," said Harinordoquy.
"They have an incredible three-quarter line with extraordinary individuals and their squad consists almost entirely of internationals.
"They are capable of producing momentum and play the ball wide a lot and it is hard to compete when they hold the ball. As far as any weaknesses go, I think they have more qualities than defects.
"Their entire back row has got massive experience and I think that in all positions they have heaps of serious candidates.
"As for Welsh internationals they all know each other and play together very often so that also counts a lot towards the high level of this team, while they have a key Irish player in Tommy Bowe so all in all it doesn't get much better than this in any European club."
Harinordoquy hopes playing the quarter-final match fresh from Grand Slam success will give him added incentive against the Ospreys.
"It's always easier to get back into your club and follow your objectives on the back of winning a tournament such as the Six Nations, especially a Grand Slam, because you are in a winning attitude and your sense of achievement is a formidable motivation for the rest of the season," he added.
"It gives you a lot of energy and enthusiasm but the remainder of the season still promises to be a tough one both on domestic and European levels.
"We had a good 26-10 win against Toulouse the other week and then beat Montauban 42-13 last weekend so hopefully we have kept on the right track and this has been good preparation to approach our major Heineken Cup quarter-final encounter against the Ospreys."