LV= Cup Preview: Ospreys v Dragons

Date published: January 27 2012

Ospreys host the Dragons in Friday's LV=Cup clash for what also shapes up as the first Welsh regional derby in Bridgend since 2004.

The Ospreys and Dragons go head to head in their LV= Cup clash at Brewery Field for what also shapes up as the first Welsh regional derby in Bridgend since 2004.

Following the Ospreys' early Heineken Cup exit, coach Steve Tandy must now turn his attention to the LV=Cup where his side are looking to record their first win in this season's competition.

After two rounds, the Welsh club are winless in Pool One and will want to pick up points at home before next week's away trip to Worcester.

However, it won't be easy against the Dragons who have got the better of Ospreys in their last three encounters.

In team news, South African centre and former Bulls star Stefan Watermeyer will make his Ospreys debut in a revamped side from the one that lost to Biarritz.

Other debutants set to feature if they make their way off the bench are Jonathan Thomas, Sam Williams, Rory Pitman, Sam Davies and Luke Morgan.

“This competition has been good for the Ospreys in terms of player development. You've only got to look at the players who've been involved with the first team this season who have benefited from the LV= Cup,” said Tandy.

“The likes of Tipuric, Beck and Webb have all used this competition to kick on, graduating to the first team and now the Welsh squad, while people like Matthew Morgan and Eli have also been playing European rugby.

“That makes it clear to some of the young boys coming in for this match that if they make their mark then they could also step up.”

Meanwhile, the Dragons have made ten changes to their starting line-up to face the Ospreys at the Riverside Hardware Brewery Field.

Joe Bedford will captain the side which contains a number of players who are making their comebacks from injury. Full-back Jamie Smith continues his return to fitness and starts this week after coming on as a substitute in last week's win over Prato. Pat Leach (face) starts on the wing whilst Aaron Coundly (bicep) comes onto the bench as both make their Dragons comebacks after long term injuries.

The Dragons are looking to bring through a number of players like Sam Parry and Ieuan Jones with the view to them having more senior roles in the future. Sam Parry is a development player and has been involved in the Dragons squad over the last couple of weeks when he was called into their European Squad as injury cover. Number eight Ieuan Jones is in the Academy and has been impressing for Pontypool, he also started in the Dragons victory at Wasps in the LV= Cup earlier in the season.

The game is also an opportunity to give some of the younger members of the squad like Steffan Jones, Lewis Robling and Jonathan Evans a chance for more first team game time.

Jevon Groves gets his chance to start in the second row for the Dragons whilst Cross Keys' British & Irish Cup quarter-final try-scorer Dan Hodge gets a spot on the bench.

The teams:

Ospreys: 15 Ross Jones, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Sonny Parker (c), 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Matthew Morgan, 9 Tom Habberfield, 8 Morgan Allen, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Chauncey O'Toole, 5 James Goode, 4 Lloyd Peers, 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Cai Griffiths.
Replacements: 16 Mefin Davies, 17 Joe Rees, 18 Jonathan Thomas, 19 Sam Williams, 20 Rory Pitman, 21 Tom Grabham, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Luke Morgan.

Dragons: 15 Jamie Smith, 14 Will Harries, 13 Andy Tuilagi, 12 Lewis Robling, 11 Pat Leach, 10 Steffan Jones, 9 Joe Bedford (capt), 8 Ieuan Jones, 7 Darren Waters, 6 Hugo Ellis, 5 Jevon Groves, 4 Royce Cadman, 3 Dan Way, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Phil Price.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Buckley, 17 Aaron Coundly, 18 Keiron Jenkins, 19 Dan Hodge, 20 Josh Tyler, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Luke Williams, 23 Geraint O'Driscoll.

Date: Friday, Janury 27
Kick-off: 19:05
Venue: Riverside Hardware Brewery Field, Bridgend
Referee: Dean Richards (England)