Beard v Ulster

One change to Ospreys XV to face Leinster

The Ospreys are taking the Guinness PRO14 to Neath this Friday, as they take on conference leaders Leinster. 

The team sees a solitary change from last week, following an impressive victory over Ulster at the Liberty. 

Cai Evans, Hanno Dirksen, and Luke Morgan all start in the back three, providing a good balance to marshal the open field. Last week's try scorer, Owen Watkin, will pair up in the midfield with Kieran Williams, who also had an eye-catching performance against the Ulstermen. 

Luke Price, who nailed the match-winning penalty last week, starts at outside half with Aled Davies, the charge down hero, his scrumhalf partner.

Up front, Nicky Smith, Scott Otten, and Simon Gardiner pack down in the front row, having been impressive at the set piece in their last outing. It's an international combination in the second row with Adam Beard and Bradley Davies packing down together once more. 

In the back row, last week's player of the match and captain, Dan Lydiate, is selected at blindside while Olly Cracknell gets the nod at openside. Cracknell will be making his 100th appearance for the region tomorrow evening at the Gnoll, an impressive feat from the 25-year old.

Making a welcome return to the number eight berth is Dan Baker, the only new inclusion from last week, replacing Gareth Evans. 

The bench boasts an impressive list of names, with a gargantuan front row trio of Sam Parry, Gareth Thomas, and Gheorghe Gajion raring to go. Ospreys stalwart Lloyd Ashley provides cover in the second row, while the dynamic Sam Cross will be looking to make an impact form the bench too. 

The versatile South Africa, Shaun Venter, covers the half back role, with promising young centre Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler provides an alternative option in the midfield. Ospreys veteran James Hook takes the final bench spot, able to cover a number of positions at a moment's notice.

Here is your Ospreys team to take on reigning champions Leinster at the Gnoll this Friday.  

Starting XV
15. Cai Evans
14. Hanno Dirksen
13. Owen Watkin
12. Kieran Williams
11. Luke Morgan
10. Luke Price
9. Aled Davies 

1.Nicky Smith  
2. Scott Otten
3. Simon Gardiner 
4. Adam Beard
5. Bradley Davies 
6. Dan Lydiate ©
7. Olly Cracknell
8. Dan Baker 

16. Sam Parry 
17. Gareth Thomas
18. Gheorghe Gajion 
19. Lloyd Ashley
20. Sam Cross 
21. Shaun Venter 
22. Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler
23. James Hook 

The following players were unavailable for selection due to International duty:
Justin Tipuric, Alun Wyn Jones, George North (All Wales).

The following players were unavailable for selection due to injury:
Gareth Anscombe
Tom Botha
Harri Morgan
Cory Allen  
James King
Rhys Henry
Will Griffiths
Keelan Giles 
Rhodri Jones
Scott Williams 
Ma'afu Fia

Upcoming Fixtures:
Zebre v Ospreys, Stadio Lanfranchi, Saturday 29th February, 1pm local time. 
Ospreys v Glasgow, Liberty Stadium, Saturday 21st March, 5:15pm