The Ospreys team to play Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade on Saturday 26th January, KO 18.30, is as follows:
15 Jamie Murphy
14 Tom Grabham
13 Jonathan Spratt
12 Ben John
11 Dafydd Howells
10 Matthew Morgan
9 Rhys Webb (Capt)
1 Marc Thomas
2 Matthew Dwyer
3 Daniel Suter
4 Sam Williams
5 Rhodri Hughes
6 Jonathan Thomas
7 Arthur Ellis
8 Morgan Allen
16 Dmitri Arhip
17 Nicky Smith
18 Campbell Johnstone
19 Dan Baker
20 Rob Dudley-Jones
21 Tom Habberfield
22 Sam Davies
23 Nathan Edwards
Jamie Murphy, Dafydd Howells and Daniel Suter all make their Ospreys debuts
Nicky Smith, Dan Baker and Rob Dudley-Jones will make their Ospreys debuts if they come off the bench.
Head Coach, Steve Tandy, said:
“We’re really looking forward to this next stage of the season, the LV= Cup and then a difficult month in the PRO12 with three trips to Ireland sandwiching our home game against Edinburgh. It’s a time that every year tends to shape our season. There’s a big onus on this group of players to step up to the mark while the internationals are away. Last year, the foundations for the league success were laid at this time, with the Wales boys coming back full of confidence after a Grand Slam to build on it, and there is expectation on this group again.
“The LV is all about development, of players and coaches, and its fair to say that we’ve embraced this over the years. Coaches like myself and Gruff have stepped up and got valuable experiences in this competition, and then playing wise you’ve got the likes of Tipuric, Walker, King and Dirksen who’ve all made their mark in the LV and gone on to establish themselves as key players.
“There are a lot of names in the team that will be unfamiliar to most people, but we want them to follow in the footsteps of those players. This is their chance, in Newport on Saturday and next weekend when we are back in Bridgend. Ross Jones and Sam Lewis were two unknowns who made their debuts in the LV last season and they are now key squad members. There’ll be boys involved over the next couple of weeks who could make a similar impact over the next 12 months, and this is a real opportunity for them.
“As a business we’ve gone down the route of development from within, increasing investment considerably, and while it can be disappointing for supporters to see players moving on, when you look at the young talent we have born and bred in this region, who are really starting to come through the pathway in big numbers, it’s exciting for everybody.”
Speaking after being appointed as captain for the game, his first time leading the team, Rhys Webb said:
“It’s the first time I’ve ever been captain so I’m really honoured by that. Growing up, captaining your local team is always something that you dream of doing so hopefully I can lead by example, and put in a real captain’s performance.
“I’m really looking forward to the next couple of games. I haven’t had as much game time this season as I would have hoped, and when you get the opportunity to pull on the shirt it’s up to you to take your chance. I’m just really excited to get back on the pitch and hopefully getting plenty of minutes under my belt so that I can hopefully kick on from there.”
Sun 3 Feb – 17.00KO – Ospreys v Harlequins – LV= Cup
Fri 8 Feb – 19.05 KO – Ulster v Ospreys – RaboDirect PRO12
Fri 15 Feb – 19.45 KO – Connacht v Ospreys – RaboDirect PRO12
Fri 22 Feb – 20.10KO – Ospreys v Edinburgh- RaboDirect PRO12
Sat 2 Mar – 18.30 KO – Munster v Ospreys – RaboDirect PRO12