Ospreys team to face Saracens

The Ospreys have named their team to face Saracens in the Heineken Champions Cup. 

Alun Wyn Jones returns to the starting line-up for the first time since the Welsh skipper returned from the Rugby World Cup. Fellow international Adam Beard lines up alongside him in the second row. 

Dan Lydiate takes the reigns as captain on the blindside and Sam Cross slots in at openside for the injured Justin Tipuric. Emerging favourite Morgan Morris dons the number 8 jersey once more to complete the back row. Up front, Darryl Marfo makes his first start for the Ospreys, packing down at loosehead alongside Scott Otten at hooker and Ma'afu Fia at tighthead. 

Another welcome return is fullback Dan Evans, who will marshal the space behind with fellow speedsters Hanno Dirksen and Luke Morgan on the right and left wings respectively. George North moves in-field to occupy the outside centre position, partnering Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler in the midfield, both try scorers last weekend at Rodney Parade. Shaun Venter gets the nod at scrumhalf and Luke Price completes the half back pairing.  

On the bench, Sam Parry, Rhys Fawcett, and Simon Gardiner offer powerful front row cover, while Ospreys stalwart Lloyd Ashley is named as replacement lock. There's another timely return with the inclusion of Dan Baker as a backrow impact player.

Aled Davies covers scrumhalf, with Cai Evans included on the bench as a replacement outside half. Lesley Klim is the final inclusion in the squad, who will be looking to replicate his last Heineken Champions Cup performance, scoring a brace of tries against Racing 92 in Paris.

Starting XV
15. Dan Evans
14. Hanno Dirksen
13. George North
12. Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler
11. Luke Morgan
10. Luke Price
9. Shaun Venter

1.Darryl Marfo 
2. Scott Otten
3. Ma'afu Fia
4. Adam Beard
5. Alun Wyn Jones
6. Dan Lydiate ©
7. Sam Cross
8. Morgan Morris

16. Sam Parry 
17. Rhys Fawcett
18. Simon Gardiner
19. Lloyd Ashley
20. Dan Baker
21. Aled Davies
22. Cai Evans
23. Lesley Klim 

Ospreys will go head-to-head with the reigning champions on Saturday 11th January, KO 1pm at the Liberty Stadium. Tickets are still available to purchase.

The following players were unavailable for selection due to injury:
Cory Allen  
Gareth Anscombe
Tom Botha
Gareth Evans
Keelan Giles 
Ben Glynn
Will Griffiths
Rhys Henry
Rhodri Jones
James King
Harri Morgan
Gareth Thomas
Justin Tipuric
Owen Watkin
Kieran Williams 
Scott Williams 

Upcoming fixtures:
Munster v Ospreys -- Sunday 19th January, Thomond Park, K.O 1pm (Heineken Champions Cup)
Ospreys v Ulster -- Saturday 15th February, Liberty Stadium, K.O 5:15pm (Guinness PRO14)