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Page last updated at 07:38 GMT, Thursday, 10 February 2011

Jonathan Humphreys calms Ospreys pressure

Magners League
Venue: Liberty Stadium Date: Sunday, 13 February 2011 Kick-off: 1710 GMT
Coverage: Updates on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Sport website

Jonathan Humphreys
Jonathan Humphreys believes the Ospreys hold the advantage

Forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys says there is no pressure on the Ospreys despite being knocked out of the Heineken Cup and LV= Cup.

The Ospreys were tipped to progress in both competitions but are now left with just the Magners League title which they are looking to retain.

They host Ulster at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday knowing a win will strengthen their play-off hopes.

"We feel the pressure is off," Humphreys told BBC Sport Wales.

"It's a huge opportunity for the players who are here to stake a claim as we've lost a vast majority of the team to Wales."

Humphreys accepts that the Ospreys will have to cope without big names including Shane Williams, Lee Byrne, James Hook and Mike Phillips who are all on Wales Six Nations duty.

But he believes the youngsters who are likely to feature in their place are key to the region's future.

"There is no surprise to us that we are missing a large majority of our squad but this group will determine where we finish in the season," he said.

"They are a very able group and they have an opportunity to push a claim forward.

"This is the next generation, these are the boys who once we won it the last three times have been the cornerstone of us winning it and they will be the cornerstone of us winning it again."

The Ospreys have lost six of their 13 games this season - the same number they lost the whole of last season - and trail leaders Munster by 14 points.

One of those defeats came on the opening day of the season to Sunday's opponents Ulster.

"They got away from us early doors and I remember it being a very physical game," added Humphreys.

"They have a few South Africans who brought a huge physicality to them so we expect it to be a very physical game on the weekend.

"We have got quite a few home games left and we have played a lot more away games than anybody else so you could argue that there could be an advantage there for us.

"We know the destiny is in our own hands. If we win our home games then we have a very good chance of finishing in the top four.

"When it comes to the top four we have been there before and won it, so we are pretty experienced in that department."

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see also
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Gibbs labels Ospreys 'disgrace'
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Ospreys 18-13 Wasps
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Cardiff Blues 7-29 Ospreys
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BBC Sport Wales coverage
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