Ospreys Team To Face Ulster

The Ospreys team to face Ulster in the Heineken Cup on Friday 7th December, at Liberty Stadium, kick off at 8:00pm, will be as follows:

The Ospreys team to face Ulster in the Heineken Cup on Friday 7th December, at Liberty Stadium, kick off at 8.00pm, will be as follows: -

15 Lee Byrne14 Nikki Walker13 Mark Taylor12 Sonny Parker11 Shane Williams10 James Hook
9 Justin Marshall

8 Filo Tiatia (Capt)7 Marty Holah6 Jonathan Thomas5 Ian Evans4 Alun Wyn Jones3 Adam Jones
2 Huw Bennett 1 Duncan Jones Replacements:16 Richard Hibbard17 Cai Griffiths18 Ian Gough19 Ben Lewis20 Mike Phillips21 Shaun Connor22 Andrew Bishop

Head Coach, Lyn Jones, commented as follows:

"€œWe have one win out of two matches in this competition and we remain in the mix to finish top of the group. This week we will face a determined Ulster side who will be disappointed with their performances of late. Our own experience of playing Ulster sharply contrasts with their current form and we will not underestimate them this weekend. They have a dogged defence and their focus on a kicking strategy has historically served them well."€

"€œWe re-enter the Heineken Cup still reeling from the shock of losing in Gloucester, but last weeks fixture against Harlequins showed that we are capable of putting in a big performance against one of the leading Guinness Premiership sides and coming away with a result in a hostile environment and in difficult weather conditions. We will again have to be on top of our game this weekend, and we are delighted to be welcoming Filo, James, Ian and Justin back into the squad. The players are well prepared and looking forward to the match."€

Injury and squad availability news

Seven players are not available for selection this week:

Aled Brew, Gareth Owen and Martin Roberts are representing Wales in the IRB World Sevens in Dubai and South Africa

David Bishop (knee) should return to rugby, initially for Bridgend, within the next few weeks

Ryan Jones (shoulder) is continuing to progress, although more slowly than we had thought and he now hopes to be available for selection by the end of this year

Barry Williams (back) is undergoing a rehab programme "€" A date has not yet be set for his return

Gavin Henson has been ruled out of action after receiving confirmation that he suffered a fracture of the fourth metacarpal in his left hand in the closing stages of last Sunday's victory over Harlequins.

Confirming the bad news today in respect of Gavin Henson, Ospreys Team Doctor Rhydian Lewis said:

"€œGavin suffered the injury at around the 63/64 minute mark of Sunday's game after driving into a ruck. From reviewing the match video, it appears that an opposition boot accidentally came into contact with his hand and Gavin can clearly be seen holding his left hand as he gets back to his feet."€

"€œGavin was able to complete the game, albeit in some pain, and he was checked out immediately after the final whistle by our medical team who diagnosed a suspected fracture of the fourth metacarpal in his left hand. We then secured the earliest available appointment at the Vale Clinic for him to undergo an X-Ray on Monday, where our initial fears were confirmed."€

"€œUnderstandably, Gavin was keen not to rule himself out and wanted to have as much time as possible to prove his fitness ahead of the weekend, but having received the opinion of a second specialist, he has accepted that he has to allow the bone healing to occur naturally. He has now had his left hand set in a lightweight cast and, whilst he will be able to continue with his fitness training, it is expected that he will be unavailable for selection for a period of four to six weeks whilst the bone heals."€

Comment from Director of Rugby, Kevin Hopkins, on Gavin Henson missing Fridays match:

"€œAfter medical consideration it has been decided that Gavin will not be able to take the field forfour to six weeks. Both Gavin and our medical staff have worked hard in an effort to get him on the pitch against Ulster this coming Friday, but in the end we have decided that Gavin's long term wellbeing is best served by him getting the hand properly sorted over the next few weeks. Gavin is an excellent rugby professional and no one works harder at their skills andconditioning than he does and he was desperate to play this weekend. This disappointment has however been softened by the timely return of James Hook, Ian Gough and Filo Tiatia to the squad for the important double header with Ulster."€