Ospreys team to face Leicester Tigers

The Ospreys team to face Leicester Tigers in the Heineken Cup on Sunday 11th October 2009 at Welford Road, kick off at 12.45pm, will be as follows:-

15 Lee Byrne
14 Nikki Walker
13 Tommy Bowe
12 James Hook
11 Shane Williams
10 Dan Biggar
9 Mike Phillips

1 Paul James
2 Huw Bennett
3 Cai Griffiths
4 Alun-wyn Jones
5 Jonathan Thomas
6 Jerry Collins
7 Marty Holah
8 Ryan Jones ©

16 Richard Hibbard
17 Craig Mitchell
18 Ryan Bevington
19 Ian Gough
20 Filo Tiatia
21 Jamie Nutbrown
22 Andrew Bishop
23 Sonny Parker

Marty Holah makes his 50th appearance for the Ospreys, having made his debut in the 51-16 win over London Irish at the Liberty Stadium on November 4th 2007.

Ospreys Director of Coaching Scott Johnson commented:

“We are travelling to Welford Road, where Leicester haven’t lost at home in a year, so they are clearly a threat, and as finalists last year and winners a couple of times, so they should be.

“We know it will be difficult, we know we need to keep our discipline and we may have to grind it out. Both teams have top-line goal kickers and to give away three points then means you are chasing the game. The tackle contest area has become a real toss of the coin with referees, and if you can win damage limitations and not give away easy points you stand a good chance. It will be a hard fought battle, Leicester haven’t conceded too many tries this year so it’ll be up to us to do something special to score.

“The Heineken Cup is no different to a test match really, it’s the pinnacle of the sport from a club or regional perspective pitting the best against the best. When you look at the calibre of players, there’s a lot of internationals from around the world, from different countries, so it’s a different type of game, but the intensity is certainly there, there’s no doubt about it. That’s what it’s all about, pitting yourself against the best, it’s why we do it.

“Last season the guys did a good job in getting out of a group that ultimately included three teams who went onto become domestic champions in their own country, so you can’t underestimate what they achieved in reaching the quarter-finals. The lesson that has been learnt from the last couple of seasons is the importance of a home quarterfinal, and we realise that if we want to progress further in this competition then that has to be a realistic target to give us the best chance.

“The accusation of under-achieving gets thrown at the Ospreys every year, but everyone said that about Leinster until this year, everyone said that about Munster as well in previous years. It’s about perception and reality, to win a knockout competition you need a few things to come together, luck being a big element, and people get used to winning, it comes with experience. It’s about knowing what to do in certain situations. I’ll tell you something, there's a lot of good sides out there who haven't reached the last 4 during the six years that we've been attempting, and plenty who would have swapped places with us reaching the last eight in recent seasons. Across Europe this week, there are 24 press conferences being held by teams who have the ambition of winning the tournament, and like I said, it’s about perception and reality. The reality is, only one side can lift the trophy next May.”

The following players were not considered because of injury

Duncan Jones has failed to recover in time from a groin injury suffered in last weekend’s win against Edinburgh

Adam Jones is now halfway through his rehab and is making excellent progress. He is ahead of schedule and we are pushing to get him back before the New Year, which is earlier than our original prognosis

Conor McInerney is recovering from keyhole surgery to correct a defect on the hyaline cartilage behind his patella. We are starting to increase the intensity of his rehab with a target of an early 2010 return

Rhys Webb is coming along nicely after undergoing double surgery in the summer, on ACL and shoulder reconstructions. He is still in the rehab phase and is achieving all his objectives. We are looking at him playing again early next year, although we are still hopeful of improving on this

Lyndon Bateman is a couple of weeks post keyhole surgery to clear out his knee, which will hopefully alleviate symptoms that have been limiting his return to functional rehab

Richard Kelly fractured his 5th metatarsal bone in his right foot training with Swansea last week. He's currently in plaster, but if all goes to plan this will only keep him out for approximately 6 weeks

Tom Isaacs injured his left shoulder playing for Swansea against Llandovery on Saturday. He is in the process of having investigations done to determine the best course of treatment, which we will be able to confirm over the next few days

Ben Lewis has undergone a minor operation to clean out some debris from his right knee, we expect Ben back playing again in the next 4-6 weeks

Forthcoming Fixtures

Sun 11th Oct – Leicester Tigers V Ospreys – Heineken Cup – Welford Road – 12.45pm
Sun 18th Oct – Ospreys V Clermont Auvergne – Heineken Cup – Liberty Stadium – 12.45pm
Sat 24th Oct – Cardiff Blues V Ospreys – Magners League – Cardiff City Stadium – 6.30pm
Fri 30th Oct - Ospreys V Glasgow - Magners League - Liberty Stadium - 7.05pm