Ospreys Team To Face Cardiff Blues

The Ospreys team to face Cardiff Blues in the Magners League on Wednesday 31st December 2008 at Cardiff Arms Park, kick off at 2.05pm, will be as follows:-

The Ospreys team to face Cardiff Blues in the Magners League on Wednesday 31st December 2008 at Cardiff Arms Park, kick off at 2.05pm, will be as follows:-

15 Gavin Henson 14 Tommy Bowe 13 Sonny Parker 12 Andrew Bishop 11 Lee Byrne 10 Dan Biggar 9 Mike Phillips 8 Filo Tiatia 7 Marty Holah 6 Ryan Jones © 5 Alun-wyn Jones 4 Ian Gough 3 Adam Jones 2 Richard Hibbard 1 Paul James  Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington 17 Cai Griffiths 18 Jonathan Thomas 19 Tom Smith 20 Jamie Nutbrown 21 James Hook 22 Jonny Vaughton  Ospreys Coach Sean Holley commented:

"We go into the final Christmas derby on the back of an excellent result at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, and we face a Blues side that has been playing really well this season. They have a settled side and that has resulted in them enjoying a very productive time of late, with some good performances and notable victories. We enjoy a healthy rivalry and we are well aware that the Arms Park is a difficult place to go and get a result. But, we have gone there and won in the past and, with a full house expected, we are excited about the prospect of another big occasion.

The next two matches, against the Blues and Munster, are very important games for us, in terms of keeping our momentum going in the Magners League. Our focus is entirely on maintaining a strong challenge at the top of the tablebefore attentions turn to European competition again as we want to ensure that we have it all to play for, in terms of the Magners League, by the time the next crucial phase of the season comes around.

We have had to manage our squad closely over this busy period and the performance against the Scarlets last time out showed the great character within the squad and the belief in our ability that we have. There were some great individual performances, but most satisfying was the all round team showing in the second half to overpower a very determined opposition. We've only had a few days to prepare for this match, but after a quick turnaround, the 22 selected are entirely focused on the challenge that lies in store and are looking forward to enjoying another derby match in front of a big crowd, with a passionate atmosphere."

The following players were not considered because of injury:

#Shane Williams is recovering from a shoulder impingement problem that he reported to the medical team following the second Treviso match. The problem is affecting one of the rotator cuff tendons in his right shoulder and after being reviewed by a shoulder specialist has had treatment to try and help settle his symptoms in the short term. If he responds well to the treatment he should be available for consideration for either the Munster or Perpignan fixture in early January

Nikki Walker has undergone surgery to repair a partial tear of his hamstring muscle origin on his left leg suffered during the home game against Treviso. He will require a lengthy period of rehabilitation before returning to action and faces a lay-off in the region of 5-6 months

Ben Lewis has undergone repeat ACL reconstruction surgery to his right knee having encountered further problems, and is unlikely to feature again this season

Duncan Jones is recovering from surgery to fix a chronic stress fracture in his right foot, and will be in plaster for up to 12 weeks. At this stage it looks unlikely to feature again this season

Ian Evans had undergone ACL reconstruction surgery after damaging his right knee in the Wales V New Zealand fixture and faces a 6-month rehabilitation period, ruling him out until next season

Andy Lloyd ruptured elbow ligaments playing in an 'A' team fixture at the end of October and needed surgery to fix the underlying instability. He is targetinga comeback midApril 09

Huw Bennett has been sidelined with ankle ligament damage since the EDF Energy Cup fixture against London Irish. He has just failed to recover in time for this fixture and will hopefully be available to face Munster in January

Gareth Owen is recovering well from surgery to repair ankle ligament damage, and is targeting a mid January return to action

Jonathan Spratt has been sidelined with disc trouble in his lower back, but is now working hard on his fitness with a view to getting back on to the field over the next two weeks

Lyndon Bateman has suffered ankle ligament damage and is facing a 4-6 week lay-off

Forthcoming fixtures are as follows:

Friday 9th January - Ospreys V Munster - Magners League - Liberty Stadium - 7.05pm

Saturday 17th January - USA Perpignan V Ospreys - Heineken Cup - Stade Aime-Giral - 4.35pm

Saturday 24th January - Ospreys V Leicester Tigers - Heineken Cup - Liberty Stadium - 5.35pm

All fixtures are subject to change