Preview: Bordeaux-Bègles v Ospreys

Date published: December 18 2015

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_Adam_Ashley-Cooper_Bordeaux_Begles

Wallaby back Adam Ashley-Cooper will make his debut for Bordeaux-Bègles when they take on the Ospreys at Stade Chaban-Delmas on Saturday.

He starts at outside centre alongside Julien Rey while Sofiane Guitoune and Metuisela Talebulamaijaina return on the wings for the French side.

Up front Sekope Kepu continues at tighthead prop while Adam Jaulhac is replaced by Julien Le Devedec and Louis Madaule comes in for Hugh Chalmers on the flank.

Meanwhile, Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy is boosted by the return of Jeff Hassler to the wing while Ben John also comes in to start at thirteen.

Brendon Leonard is unavailable as his wife is due to give birth so Tom Habberfield starts alongside Dan Biggar in the half-backs.

Otherwise it's an unchanged team with the starting pack retained after their 19-16 win at the Liberty Stadium last week.

"We've put ourselves in a strong position in the pool at this stage with our performances so far but nobody in this environment will be getting carried away with ourselves. We realise that we are only at the halfway stage at this point and, starting on Saturday, we have to go all over again," said Tandy.

"We said at the start of the campaign that we had to win our home games and see what we can pick up on the road and that's what it's been about so far. We've now got two away games and just the one home, so this is where it starts to get particularly tough."

He added: "It's important that we approach this game in the right way as the right performance will allow us to keep building momentum which is crucial with a huge month of rugby ahead of us in the PRO12 and Europe."

Form: Bordeaux-Bègles are the only side still with a 100% lineout success rate in this Champions Cup campaign; however they also have the lowest scrum success rate (70%). Ospreys have averaged more kicks from hand (30) per game than any other side after three rounds of action. After their win against Bordeaux-Bègles last weekend, Ospreys have the opportunity to win consecutive matches in the Champions Cup for the first time since November 2011. Ospreys have lost 14 of their 15 away games against French opposition in the Champions Cup, a solitary win at Bourgoin the only positive result in this record. Alun Wyn Jones tops the lineouts won chart this season so far having claimed 17 of his own side's throws and one steal from an opposition throw. Bordeaux have conceded more penalties per game (15) than any other side this season. No side has conceded fewer turnovers per game than Ospreys in 2015/16 (10.3). UBB have won four of their last five European home games (all in the Challenge Cup), losing only to Edinburgh in this run. Ospreys have not won an away game in the Champions Cup since beating Viadana 62-7 in 2009, since when they have lost 17 of 18 games on the road (D1). Only George Smith of Wasps (45) has made more tackles than Dan Lydiate this season (41).

The teams:

UBB: 15 Jean-Marcellin Buttin, 14 Metuisela Talebulamaijaina, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Julien Rey, 11 Sofiane Guitoune, 10 Pierre Bernard, 9 Heini Adams, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Matthew Clarkin, 6 Louis Madaule, 5 Berend Botha, 4 Julien Le Devedec, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Clement Maynadier, 1 Jefferson Poirot.
Replacements: 16 Ole Avei, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 19 Jan Andre Marais, 20 Loann Goujon, 21 Yann Lesgourgues, 22 Baptiste Serin, 23 Darly Domvo.

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Ben John, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tom Habberfield, 8 James King, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Lloyd Ashley, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Rory Thornton, 20 Dan Baker, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Hanno Dirksen.

Date: Saturday, December 19
Venue: Stade Chaban-Delmas
Kick-off: 18:15 local (17:15 GMT)
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Referees: Matthew Carley (England), Peter Allan (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

COMMENTS