Preview: Ospreys v Dragons

Date published: January 9 2015

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Alun Wyn Jones will captain the Ospreys for this weekend’s all-Welsh affair in the Pro12 against Newport Gwent Dragons.

“This week is a real test of character for the group, to bounce back from the disappointment of last week and go into another big Welsh derby,” said head coach Steve Tandy.

“The Dragons have been playing really well in recent weeks so will come here full of confidence and looking to get one over us on Sunday so we are going to have to put in a much better performance this week.

Ashley Beck makes his 100th appearance for the region.

Meanwhile, scrum-half Jonathan Evans has returned to the starting XV along with flanker Lewis Evans.

Full-back Tom Prydie retains his place in the back three alongside wingers Matthew Pewtner and Hallam Amos. The young centre pairing of Tyler Morgan and Jack Dixon also keep their places in the starting XV. One change has been made in the half-backs as Jason Tovey is joined by young gun Jonathan Evans.

There are no changes in the front row as props Phil Price and Brok Harris are joined by hooker Elliot Dee. The second row remains the same with lock Andrew Coombs and skipper Rynard Landman taking up their places.

The back row has one change made to it as Lewis Evans joins Nic Cudd and Taulupe Faletau.

Form: Ospreys last seven fixtures in the Guinness PRO12 have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst they have not been defeated in the PRO12 at Liberty Stadium since Munster were the visitors in February 2014. Ospreys have won their last 10 home games against fellow Welsh regions in the PRO12 and have suffered only one defeat at Liberty Stadium to a country rival in the tournament since 2007: 16-21 to Dragons in October 2010. Newport Gwent Dragons’ four game winning run in all tournaments ended at home to Cardiff Blues on New Year’s day. The Men from Gwent have won three of their last four away games in all competitions, and have already beaten Ospreys on their own soil this season: 51-35 at Bridgend in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in November. Ospreys have won their last six fixtures with Dragons in the PRO12 since their 20-21 reversal at Rodney Parade 3 years ago. Dragons only victory in nine previous visits to Liberty Stadium came on 30th October 2010.

The teams:

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Richard Fussell, 13 Ashley Beck, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Tyler Aldron, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 James King, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Duncan Jones
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Hanno Dirksen

Dragons: 15 Tom Prydie, 14 Matthew Pewtner, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Taulupe Faletau. 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Rynard Landman (c), 4 Andrew Coombs, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Phil Price
Replacements: 16 Rhys Buckley, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 James Thomas, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Dorian Jones, 23 Geraint Rhys Jones

Date: Sunday, January 11
Kick-off: 16:00 GMT
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Martyn Lewis (Wales)
Television match official: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

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