Preview: Ospreys v Bordeaux-Bègles

Date published: December 11 2015

Ospreys boss Steve Tandy has made six changes, including a positional switch, for Saturday's clash with Bordeaux-Bègles at Liberty Stadium.

Regular captain and lock Alun Wyn Jones, hooker Scott Baldwin, fly-half Dan Biggar, scrum-half Brendon Leonard and blindside flanker Dan Lydiate all return to the run-on side, after sitting out last weekend's win over Zebre, while James King moves to number eight to accomodate Lydiate's return.

Ospreys head coach Tandy highlighted the importance of this match, especially after his side suffered a narrow defeat to Clermont in their previous Champions Cup outing.

“We’ve started our campaign really well, winning our home game, beating Exeter who are flying in the Aviva, and then picking two points up on the road in Clermont, something not many teams do," he said.

“We said before the campaign started that we had to make sure we win our home games, then it’s about what we can pick up on the road. That’s the mantra again for these two games. We’ve adapted well to two different challenges and now we have to go again for back-to-back games against a very dangerous team in Bordeaux.

“We can’t look at the table and think we are flying. If we take our eye off the ball over the next 10 days Bordeaux will make us pay, make no mistake about it. 

"We got the performances we did in the first two rounds because of hard work, preparation, attention to detail, character and commitment, and we’ll need all those in abundance again for these two weeks, and then the challenges that come after that in a busy four or five week period.

“The performance out in Italy last weekend, and with some players coming back to fitness, meant that selection was tough this week, there were some difficult conversations, but that is exactly how it should be and why we are working so hard to create the kind of depth you need to compete. 

"We aren’t there yet, we know that, but we are heading in the right direction with a squad of players who want to improve, who want to be the best and believe in what we are doing here.

“It’s a really exciting time for everybody involved with the region and this weekend’s game has the potential to be a belter so we are going to have to be focused on doing what we need to do to get the right performance while, hopefully, the supporters enjoy themselves and rise to the occasion as well.”

Meanwhile, Bordeaux have rung the changes after last weekend's win over Stade Français in the Top 14. In all there are 13 alterations with Nans Ducuing and Marco Tauleigne the only survivors from their previous match.

Nans Ducuing shifts from full-back to the left wing with Jean-Marcellin Buttin wearing the number 15 jersey. They are joined in the back three by Jean-Baptiste Dubié while Felix Le Bourhis and Charles Brousse start in midfield and Pierre Bernard and Heini Adams form a new half-back combination.

In the forwards, Tauleigne starts at number eight. He is joined in the back-row by flankers Hugh Chalmers and Matthew Clarkin while Adam Jaulhac and Berend Botha start in the bolier room.

Wallabies tighthead prop Sekope Kepu starts in the front-row alongside hooker Clement Maynadier and fellow prop Jefferson Poirot.

Form: The Ospreys are winless in last three matches against French teams in the Champions Cup, but have never gone four games in a row without victory against French opposition. The Welsh region have won 22 of their last 29 home fixtures in the competition and have drawn three of those matches with just four defeats.Bordeaux-Bègles have been victorious just once from five Champions Cup matches away from home Their only triumph was registered in their first ever away fixture in the competition.

The teams:

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Jonathan Spratt, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Brendon Leonard, 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 Nicky Smith, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Rory Thornton, 20 Dan Baker, 21 Tom Habberfield, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Ben John.

Bordeaux-Bègles: 15 Jean-Marcellin Buttin, 14 Jean-Baptiste Dubié, 13 Felix Le Bourhis, 12 Charles Brousse, 11 Nans Ducuing, 10 Pierre Bernard, 9 Heini Adams, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Hugh Chalmers, 6 Matthew Clarkin, 5 Adam Jaulhac, 4 Berend Botha, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Clement Maynadier, 1 Jefferson Poirot. 
Replacements: 16 Ronan Chambord, 17 Jean-Baptiste Poux, 18 Patrick Toetu, 19 Cyril Cazeaux, 20 Louis Madaule, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Romain Lonca, 23 Paulin Riva.

Date: Saturday, December 12
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Kick-off: 17:15 GMT
Referee: JP Doyle (England)
Assistant Referees: Greg Garner (England), Paul Burton (England)
TMO: Sean Davey (England)