The Ospreys team to face Ulster in the Magners League on Saturday 27th September 2008 at the Liberty Stadium, kick off at 5.30pm, will be as follows:-
15 Lee Byrne
14 Nikki Walker
13 Tommy Bowe
12 James Hook
11 Shane Williams
10 Daniel Biggar
9 Rhodri Wells
8 Tom Smith
7 Marty Holah
6 Jonathan Thomas
5 Ian Evans
4 Andy Lloyd
3 Adam Jones
2 Richard Hibbard
1 Paul James ©
16 Huw Bennett
17 Duncan Jones
18 Ian Gough
19 Ryan Jones
20 Rhys Webb
21 Andrew Bishop
22 Gavin Henson
Richard Hibbard makes his first appearance of the season following minor shoulder surgery in the summer
If he comes off the bench, Gavin Henson will make his first appearance in an Ospreys shirt since damaging ankle ligaments during the Heineken Cup Quarter Final Vs Saracens in April
The following players are not available for selection due to injury:
Sonny Parker has failed to recover fully from a shoulder injury in time to be considered for selection this week, but is on course to feature against Harlequins if selected
Kristian Phillips is being monitored closely following the shoulder problem sustained in the Help for Heroes game at Twickenham last Saturday. A decision regarding his management will be made towards the end of next week but he looks likely to be sidelines for a minimum of eight weeks
Mike Phillips is continuing his rehabilitation after undergoing surgery to repair damage to his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments
Gareth Owen and Cai Griffiths both suffered ankle ligament damage during the victory over Glasgow two weeks ago. After monitoring their progress and recovery closely the decision has been taken to operate on Gareth earth next week to stabilise his injured ankle. The medical team remains optimistic that Cai will respond to conservative treatment and hope to start some more functional rehab with him in two weeks when he comes out of plaster
Jamie Nutbrown suffered an injury to the midtarsal joint of his left foot in Glasgow, damaging ligaments as well as sustaining a compression fracture to one of the small tarsal bones of his foot. He has been ruled out of action for a period of six-eight weeks
Ben Lewis is recovering well after undergoing ACL reconstruction surgery to his right knee and is on target for a November return
OSPREYS COACH SEAN HOLLEY COMMENTED:
"After difficult trips to Glasgow and Leinster over the last few weeks we're looking forward to coming back to the nest for Saturday's match against Ulster, which starts off a run of four matches out of five at home over the next month, in stark contrast to the opening weeks of the season that saw us face three way fixtures in our first four.
"We suffered our first defeat of the season at the hands of Leinster last Friday, and although we are obviously disappointed with the result, we have taken a lot of positives from what was a strong performance. We dominated for long periods and there were some very strong aspects to our game, but we failed to turn our possession and territory into the points we deserved, which would probably have given us an excellent victory. It was very pleasing that we kept on going until the final whistle and didn't drop our heads as the bonus point we secured right at the death could prove important later in the season.
"Ulster are a very difficult team to take on, they always provide a real physical challenge up front, they are well organised and abrasive, and take the breakdown and tackle area to its limits.
They've also got plenty of pace in the back three who offer a threat from any area of the pitch, and of course, with us having faced them four times over the last year they have plenty of experience of how to play against us.
"We've worked hard this week on correcting the areas where we fell short against Leinster and we'll be looking to impose our game on the opposition. We are confident and extremely tight as a group at the moment and are able once again to select a strong team with fresh legs and players with some points to prove and places to play for.
Having spent the last few weeks on the road, and in particular after last weekend's game in Dublin where there was a 15,000 crowd, we are all hoping that there will be a good crowd at the Liberty Stadium to welcome us back and to generate a great atmosphere to help the players perform."
Forthcoming fixtures are as follows:
Sunday 5th October
-Ospreys V Harlequins - EDF Energy Cup - Liberty Stadium - 3.05pm Sunday 12th October - Leicester Tigers V Ospreys - Heineken Cup - Welford Road - 1.00pm Saturday 18th October - Ospreys V Perpignan - Heineken Cup - Liberty Stadium - 3.30pm Sunday 26th October - Ospreys V Worcester - EDF Energy Cup - Liberty Stadium - 3.05pm
Please note that all fixtures are subject to change