Front-row competition will help drive Ospreys

After watching his rival for the number one shirt, Duncan Jones, take the man-of-the-match award in last weekend's win over the Scarlets, Ryan Bevington will get his chance to shine on Saturday evening after being named in the starting line-up for the Ospreys PRO12 clash against Munster at the Liberty Stadium (KO 6.30pm).

The 23-year old from Porthcawl will make his 50th league appearance for the region, and his 62nd in all competitions, after making his debut as a late replacement in a 24-20 away loss to Connacht at the end of the 2007/08 season, and as he looks to take his chance to impress, he says that the competition for places will drive both looseheads on to better things this season.

“He’s a great player and a good guy” he said of his rival.

“I’ve got so much time and respect for Duncan. It’s massive competition but this is what I want and he would say exactly the same. You need competition to keep you on your toes. No one wants to feel like they’ve been handed a shirt, you want to know that you’ve earned it. I think we both feel it’s a good position to be in, for the team and for both of us. Whoever gets the shirt knows they have to be at their best or they’ll be out.”

After three straight defeats the Ospreys belatedly kick-started their season with the 23-16 win at Parc y Scarlets and Bevington said that it’s important that the team continue the upward curve against the Irish giants.

“It’s been a good place to be this week, there’s a definite buzz after last weekend. We want to try and build on that and run into a bit of form now. I don’t think we were a million miles away in the opening games if I’m honest.

“The guys realise that there’s a lot of hard work to do still, there are tweaks to work on across the pitch if we want to get to the standard we expect here. It was a good game last week, a lot better. The forwards clicked, the backs came together, and although there are negatives as well as positives like always, we were pretty happy. Now we need to build on it this Saturday.”

Munster come to the Liberty with three wins from four, including a five try romp against the Dragons at Thomond Park last weekend, and Bevington is expecting a typically difficult evening against the triple Celtic League winners and twice European kings.

“You always expect Munster to be tough opponents” acknowledged Bevington.

“They are a good team and we’ve got a lot of respect for them. You know that when you play them you are in for a difficult time, but that’s what you want, a real challenge. It’s probably perfect for us really, after a disappointing start and building on from the Scarlets as it allows you to judge for yourself where you are.

“They’ve started the season well and are where you always expect a Munster team to be, up at the top of the table. That’s where we want to be, so we know what we’ve got to do and that means we need to be at our best this weekend.”