Ospreys V Connacht - Match Preview

The Ospreys team to face Connacht in the Magners League on Sunday 22nd February 2009 at Liberty Stadium, kick off at 2.15pm, will be as follows:-

The Ospreys team to face Connacht in the Magners League on Sunday 22nd February 2009 at Liberty Stadium, kick off at 2.15pm, will be as follows:-15 Gareth Owen14 Kristian Phillips13 Sonny Parker12 Jonathan Spratt11 Jonny Vaughton10 Dan Biggar9 Jamie Nutbrown 1 Paul James ©2 Richard Hibbard3 Cai Griffiths4 Filipo Levi5 Jonathan Thomas6 Tom Smith7 Steve Tandy8 Filo Tiatia  Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington17 Ryan Bevington18 Andy Lloyd19 Marty Holah20 Rhys Webb21 Ashley Beck22 David Bishop

Ospreys Coach Sean Holley commented:

"We're in a strong position in the Magners League, and with two home matches during the Six Nations period it is imperative that we maintain the standards we have set so far this season. It is very tight at the top of the table, so we know what we have to do in order to not only keep up the pressure on Munster at the top, but also allow us to stay ahead of the chasing pack.

"Connacht may feel that we are a depleted side, but our success this season and in the past is down to us having a strong squad and players who are all challenging for places in the starting fifteen. The side that we have named is a good mix of youth an experience, with a lot of quality in the team. There is some fine young talent within the Ospreys region and I'm excited about the prospect of seeing the likes of Jonathan Spratt and Ashley Beck in action, especially with Andrew Bishop being recalled back to the Wales squad. Kristian Phillips has been showing some real quality with Wales Under-20's and deserves his start in the game and it is great to see Gareth Owen back after a long spell out with injury. Ryan Bevington has impressed in training and in the Welsh Premiership, along with Craig Mitchell, and just gets the nod on the bench.

"With the return from injury of Sonny Parker and Andy Lloyd, along with Spratt and Owen, and the arrival of Filipo Levi who will be making his Ospreys debut, the competition for places grows even stronger. There are players involved on Sunday with points to prove, and there are a lot of leaders in the team that understand the importance of this game. It all makes for what will, I'm sure, be a very interesting game, and having not had a game for four weeks now, we cannot wait for 2.15 on Sunday to come."

The following players were not considered because of injury:

  • Nikki Walker is out of action for the rest of the season having undergone surgery to repair a partial tear of his hamstring muscle origin on his left leg suffered during the home game against Treviso.
  • 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 is 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 in November and has been ruled out until next season
  • In addition, the following players are all unavailable due to international duty:

  • Adam Jones
  • Huw Bennett
  • Ian Gough
  • Alun-wyn Jones
  • Ryan Jones
  • Mike Phillips
  • James Hook
  • Shane Williams
  • Gavin Henson
  • Andrew Bishop
  • Lee Byrne
  • Tommy Bowe
  • Forthcoming fixtures are as follows:

  • Friday 6th March " Ospreys V Leinster " Magners League " Liberty Stadium " 7.05pm
  • Saturday 28th March " Gloucester V Ospreys " EDF Energy Cup Semi-Final " Ricoh Arena " 2.30pm
  • Friday 3rd April " Ulster V Ospreys " Magners League " Ravenhill " 7.35pm
  • Sunday 12th April " Munster V Ospreys " Heineken Cup Quarter-Final " Thomond Park " 1.00pm
  • All fixtures are subject to change