Os­preys rolling out big guns for away-day derby trip to Dragons

Wales On Sunday - - SPORT -

THE Os­preys have picked their strong­est pos­si­ble side for trip down the M4 to face the Dragons to­mor­row af­ter­noon (3pm).

It bucks the trend of Allen Clarke rest­ing his big names for away matches as the race for play-off spots heats up in Con­fer­ence A.

The Os­preys are cur­rently in the third and fi­nal play-off place, but have Con­nacht and the Cardiff Blues snap­ping at their heels.

There is also the added sig­nif­i­cance of the clash be­ing a Welsh derby to con­sider.

Clarke has named an un­changed start­ing XV for the game at Rod­ney Pa­rade, fol­low­ing their win over Scar­lets, mean­ing star names Ge­orge North, Scott Wil­liams, Justin Tipuric and Alun Wyn Jones all re­tain their spots.

But there are changes on the bench where Cory Allen comes in for Kee­lan Giles, with Clarke yet to make a call on whether Rho­dri Jones will re­place Rowan Jenk­ins or if Luke Price will take James Hook’s place.

“There’s a great vibe in camp cou­pled with a con­stant am­bi­tion to get bet­ter week on week,” said Clarke.

“It’s im­por­tant to us that ev­ery squad mem­ber is pro­gress­ing, feel­ing val­ued and, equally, adding value to the team whether in the match-day 23 or not.”

As for the Dragons, they’ve had to deal with the loss of Lloyd Fair­brother, who was banned for three weeks af­ter be­ing sent off dur­ing the de­feat to the Cardiff Blues for dan­ger­ous play.

In comes Aaron Jarvis, mak­ing his first Guin­ness PRO14 start for the re­gion, to face his old side in the No.3 jersey.

The only other changes to the team that nar­rowly lost to the Blues be­fore Christ­mas come on the bench, where Dan Suter and James Ben­jamin get the nod.

Tyler Mor­gan misses out de­spite re­turn­ing to train­ing this week and stal­wart Adam War­ren plays his 100th league match in the mid­field.

“The Os­preys are a good team and they showed that last week­end in the win against Scar­lets,” said Dragons in­terim head coach Ceri Jones.

“Sam Davies and his kick­ing game is huge for them, they have loads of power and a good de­fen­sive line.

“There are a lot of chal­lenges to face, but we have to look at our­selves and the per­for­mance that we put onto the pitch last week, when we were dom­i­nant in a lot of ar­eas.

“We are in a good place and phases of our play were out­stand­ing with good am­bi­tion to play, we in­tend to go out there and do the same thing.”

The Dragons are with­out in­jured Wales in­ter­na­tion­als Ross Mo­ri­arty, Ol­lie Grif­fiths and Leon Brown, while the Os­preys’ key ab­sen­tees are Dan Ly­di­ate and Nicky Smith.

DRAGONS: Zane Kirch­ner; Jared Rosser, Adam War­ren, Jar­ryd Sage, Hallam Amos; Josh Lewis, Rho­dri Wil­liams; Ryan Bev­ing­ton, El­liot Dee, Aaron Jarvis; Bran­don Nansen, Matthew Screech; Cory Hill (c), Aaron Wain­wright, Har­ri­son Ked­die. Reps: Richard Hib­bard, Ger­ard El­lis, Dan Suter, Lewis Evans, James Ben­jamin, Tavis Knoyle, Ja­son Tovey, Jor­dan Wil­liams.

OS­PREYS: Dan Evans; Ge­orge North, Scott Wil­liams, Owen Watkin, Luke Mor­gan; Sam Davies, Aled Davies; Gareth Thomas, Scott Bald­win, Tom Botha; Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones; Olly Crack­nell, Justin Tipuric (c), James King. Reps: Scott Ot­ten, Rho­dri Jones/ Rowan Jenk­ins, Alex Jef­feries, Lloyd Ash­ley, Sam Cross, Tom Hab­ber­field, Luke Price/James Hook, Cory Allen. REF­EREE: Dan Jones (WRU). KICK-OFF: Rod­ney Pa­rade, to­mor­row, 3pm.

Os­preys head coach Allen Clarke

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.