Preview: Ospreys v Edinburgh

Date published: September 19 2014

Edinburgh-scrumhalf-Sam-HidalgoClyne_3205674

Edinburgh have made seven changes to their starting line-up that will take on the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea on Sunday.

Edinburgh have made seven changes to their starting XV that will take on the Ospreys in Sunday's PRO12 fixture.

Nick McLennan moves from left to right wing with Tim Visser returning to take the number 11 shirt and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne coming in at scrum-half.

James Hilterbrand and WP Nel move from the bench to hooker and tighthead prop respectively with Anton Bresler at lock and Mike Coman – who is captain – at flanker also moving into the XV.

“Playing the league leaders away from home is a huge challenge. The Ospreys are pretty much at full strength, with Alun-Wyn Jones at the helm and Justin Tipuric returning from injury,” head coach Alan Solomons told edinburghrugby.org.

“It will be a real test for us but at the same time a great opportunity for the players selected.”

Meanwhile the Ospreys, who remain without Ashley Beck, Ryan Bevington, Sam Lewis, Lloyd Peers, Tom Smith and Eli Walker, have named Jonathan Spratt in place of Andrew Bishop.

Hanno Dirksen comes in for Walker on the left wing while Wales international Justin Tipuric returns at number seven, meaning that James King moves across to the blindside flank.

“Sunday will be a test for us. Edinburgh are in a good position and have recruited well with some quality overseas players providing real depth to their squad. They've had a decent start to the season, with a very good win at Munster in their last away game, so we know that it's going to be tough 80 minutes, home advantage or not,” said head coach Steve Tandy.

“We've prepared well over this week. The Dragons win was a welcome one but we realise that the performance was far from perfect and there's still a lot of work to do. The desire in this group is unquestionable, there's a real will to do the shirt justice and a pride in the Ospreys badge, and I think supporters can identify with that.

“It's a young squad but we are heading in the right direction. We know there'll be peaks and troughs over the course of the season as they get that valuable experience under their belts, and there's a responsibility on the shoulders of people like Dan, Alun Wyn and Justin to help carry them through the sticky periods.

“Supporters can also play their part. It's important that they get behind the team when they need them and are patient when things aren't going our way as will inevitably be the case at times. We are all working hard to make the Ospreys successful, not just for this week or next week, but for the long term, and the experiences of this season will help to shape this talented young group.”

Form: Ospreys' only defeat in their last six Guinness PRO12 matches was 27-30 to Zebre in Parma in round 21 last season. Ospreys have won their last four games at Liberty Stadium since Munster were the visitors in February. The Welshmen have lost their last three fixtures against Scottish opponents, but have never lost four in a row to teams north of the border. Edinburgh's only victory in their last seven fixtures was 14-13 over Munster in Limerick in round 1, the Scotsmen, therefore, are going for successive away victories in the PRO12 for the first time since November 2009. Edinburgh won on their most recent visit to Wales: 23-19 over Dragons at Rodney Parade in April, and have not won back-to-back games in Wales since September 2009. The last four encounters between the two sides have all been won by the home team on the day whilst Edinburgh have not been victorious at Liberty Stadium since a 32-30 win on 25th April 2009.

The teams:

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Jonathan Spratt, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Hanno Dirksen, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Dan Baker, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 James King, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Alun-Wyn Jones (capt), 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Dmitri Arhip, 19 Tyler Ardron, 20 Morgan Allen, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Tom Grabham.

Edinburgh: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Nick McLennan, 13 Phil Burleigh, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Mike Coman (capt), 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 WP Nel, 2 James Hilterbrand, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Neil Cochrane, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 John Andress, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Tomas Leonardi, 21 Grayson Hart, 22 Sam Beard, 23 Greig Tonks.

Date: Sunday, September 21
Kick-off: 16:00 BST
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Simon Rees (Wales), Chris Williams (Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)

COMMENTS