The Ospreys team to face the Dragons in the Magners League, at the Liberty Stadium "â¬" Sunday 31st December "â¬" kick off at 2.10pm, will be selected from the following squad of 24: -
Comment from Head Coach, Lyn Jones:
"Things went exceptionally well against the Scarlets but we have not been carried away with that success and the Dragons will give us another stern challenge. We will need to show the same level of assertiveness on Sunday as the Dragons have shown themselves to be a force, particularly in their recent wholehearted performance against the Blues. They have a combative pack of forwards and they will always pose a challenge up front as they showed when they beat us in Gwent last year."
"At this time of year you have to manage both mental and physical fatigue. We are coming to the end of three physical games in a row and it is taking its toll on our squad. The fatigue showed during the last ten minutes against the Scarlets when the physicality of the Blues fixture seemed to catch up with us. Having said that, we have a strong squad and I am sure that the Liberty Stadium crowd will help to pull us through. We enjoyed superb, vocal support in front of a full house against the Scarlets and I am sure Sunday's crowd will again help to give us an edge."
Ian Evans facing lengthy lay-off
Ian Evans has been diagnosed as having a chronically unstable shoulder and he will require a shoulder reconstruction which will take place in the first week of January. He dislocated his shoulder whilst scoring a try against the Blues and he will now face five to six months of rehabilitation
Commenting on the injury, Lyn Jones said:
"This is a massive blow for Ian, the Ospreys and for Wales. Six months is a long lay-off, but hopefully it will not jeopardise his position in the Rugby World Cup. This will in time be seen as a small blip in Ian's career. He has made phenomenal progress over the last eighteen months and I am sure he will come back stronger than ever."
Injury and squad availability news
We have eleven players not available for selection due to injury:
Huw Bennett (ankle) should be available against Leinster next week
Duncan Jones (torn bicep) and Shane Williams (ankle sprain) suffered injuries against the Scarlets and will be out of action for about two weeks
Sonny Parker (strained medial ligament) will be out for about three weeks
Jonathan Thomas (AC joint) will be out for another four weeks
Richard Hibbard (shoulder), Matthew Jones (knee), Tim Evans (knee) and Craig Mitchell (knee) are all on course for February returns
Ian Evans (Shoulder - see above) will be out for five to six months and David Bishop (knee) is hoping to soon be off his crutches