Come back Li­ons, the Ospreys need you says Dan

The Rugby Paper - - News - ■ By ST­EF­FAN THOMAS

OSPREYS full-back Dan Evans hopes his side’s re­turn­ing Bri­tish & Ir­ish Li­ons can boost Steve Tandy’s men fol­low­ing a tough start to the new PRO14 sea­son.

The Lib­erty Sta­dium out­fit edged past Ital­ian whip­ping boys Ze­bre on the open­ing week­end, but a 31-10 hid­ing at Glas­gow War­riors didn’t im­prove head coach Tandy’s mood, nor yes­ter­day’s de­feat to Mun­ster.

Li­ons flanker Justin Tipuric has be­gun the new cam­paign, and in­spi­ra­tional skip­per Alun-Wyn Jones, and Li­ons half-back pair Rhys Webb and Dan Big­gar are in line to re­turn for the next two trips to Tre­viso and South African side Chee­tahs to hand their team an ex­tra edge.

“Li­ons play­ers would boost any team and they’ll be a great as­set to us when they come back,” said two-times Wales cap Evans, be­low. “It was a phys­i­cal sum­mer for them so they de­served their ex­tra time off but we can’t wait to get back play­ing with them again. “Ob­vi­ously we’ve had Justin since day one and he’s a qual­ity player. The other guys have been com­ing back over the last cou­ple of weeks and the pres­ence they have around the camp is great.”

There was a time not so long ago when the Swansea-based re­gion were la­belled the ‘Galac­ti­cos’ of Welsh rugby. But a lack of re­sources has meant the Ospreys have re­lied heav­ily on a small num­ber of star play­ers in a stream­lined squad.

Nonethe­less, Evans be­lieves that the re­gion's Li­ons play­ers can get them back on track.

“In­juries seemed to hap­pen at the wrong time for us last year, so hope­fully all the boys can get fit and stay fit,” said Evans. “The strength in depth we’ve got here is bril­liant and that’s key. We are still try­ing to get our plat­form this sea­son, but there are a num­ber of games we are look­ing for­ward to now.”

Qual­ity: Justin Tipuric

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