Ospreys centre Andrew Bishop will make his 200th appearance for the region when they kick-off their PRO12 season against Treviso.
Ospreys centre Andrew Bishop will make his 200th appearance for the region when they kick-off the new season against Treviso on Friday.
Bishop lines up alongside Josh Matavesi in midfield, with Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar a familiar nine and ten for Steve Tandy's side.
Centre Matavesi, full-back Dan Evans and second-row Rynier Bernardo will all make their Ospreys debuts in the fixture at Liberty Stadium.
“It's been a tough, long pre-season for everybody so we can't wait to get down to the real business on Friday night. We're all looking forward to the game and starting to put into practice some of the things we've worked hard on over the summer,” said head coach Tandy ahead of Friday's game.
“It's a pretty exciting time for us as a group. If you look at the PRO12 with the new European qualification rules, every game will count from day one to the final weekend of the season and there is a real sense of jeopardy. That adds value to a competition, for supporters, players and sponsors alike, and I'm sure will take the PRO12 on to another level.”
Meanwhile, Treviso have handed club debuts to centre Sam Christie, fly-half Joe Carlisle, number eight Leo Auva'a and prop Rupert Harden, who arrived in Italy during the off-season.
Romulo Acosta, Albert Anae, Dean Budd, Paul Derbyshire, Simone Favaro, Edoardo Gori, Jayden Hayward, Alberto Lucchese, Bruno Mercanti, Francesco Minto, JosÃ¨ Novak, Antonio Pavanello, Franco Sbaraglini and Alessandro Zanni are unavailable for the Swansea trip.
Form: Ospreys have lost just one of their last four Guinness PRO12 encounters: 27-30 to Zebre at Parma on 1st May, whilst their only home defeat in the competition in 2014 came at the hands of Munster on 23rd February. The Welshmen have never lost successive matches to opponents from Italy. Benetton Treviso have slipped to three successive defeats since beating Newport Gwent Dragons at Stadio Monigoon 12th April. Treviso's only victory outside Italy in any competition since October 2012 came when they visited Scarlets in round 22 of the 2012/13 PRO12 campaign. The two sides have met on eight previous occasions in the PRO12 with Treviso's only victory being 12-6 in Italy on the opening weekend of the 2012/13 season.
Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Dan Baker, 7 James King, 6 Joe Bearman, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Lloyd Peers (capt), 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Daniel Suter, 19 Tyler Ardron, 20 Morgan Allen, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Hanno Dirksen.
Treviso: 15 Simone Ragusi, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Sam Christie, 11 Michele Campagnaro, 10 Joe Carlisle, 9 James Ambrosini, 8 Leo Auva'a, 7 Tomas Vallejos Cinalli, 6 Meyer Swanepoel, 5 Corniel Van Zyl (capt), 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Matteo Muccignat.
Replacements: 16 Giovanni Maistri, 17 Salesi Manu, 18 Matteo Zanusso, 19 Marco Lazzaroni, 20 Mat Luamanu, 21 Marco Barbini, 22 Angelo Esposito, 23 Henry Seniloli.
Date: Friday, September 5
Kick-off: 19:35 BST
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Referee: David Wilkinson (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Greg Morgan (Wales), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Television match official: Derek Bevan (Wales)