Preview: Ospreys v Ulster

Date published: October 3 2013

Alun Wyn Jones will make his 150th Ospreys appearance in Friday's Pro12 clash against Ulster at the Liberty Stadium.

Alun Wyn Jones will make his 150th Ospreys appearance in Friday's Pro12 clash against Ulster at the Liberty Stadium.

flanker Tyler Ardron makes his first Ospreys start as the Welsh region look to extend a 10-game unbeaten streak on home soil.

“We are really pleased to be where we are in the table four weeks in and after three games on the road, but we aren't going to allow ourselves to get carried away,” said Head Coach Steve Tandy.

“There's plenty of room for improvement in a few areas of our game, and we are going into a tough run of fixtures where we are going to have to move up several gears if we are going to keep building momentum.

“Ulster on Friday night is as difficult as it gets. They've got a strong squad with world class players in there, Lions, All Blacks and Springboks, and as they've shown over the last two seasons in getting to Heineken and PRO12 finals, they can beat anyone so we are going to have to be at our very best.

“It should be a cracking contest, and is the first of two home games on the bounce against quality opposition with Leinster at the Liberty next weekend. This is what we've been building towards in the opening weeks of the season and it's a period that any rugby fan will be excited about.”

Meanwhile, Ireland winger Andrew Trimble has recovered from injury to be named in the Ulster team.

Trimble underwent surgery on his finger three weeks ago and starts on the right wing in place of Tommy Bowe, who has failed to recover from a dead leg he sustained in the bonus-point win over Treviso at Ravenhill last Friday.

Ulster Head Coach Mark Anscombe has made four changes in total. Captain Johann Muller returns, while Declan Fitzpatrick is selected at tighthead having recovered from the injury that he picked up against Connacht in Galway.

In the only other change, Nick Williams, who signed a new two-year deal with the Province this week, starts at number eight, with Roger Wilson moving to the bench.

Ireland international centre Stuart Olding is selected among the substitutes and is in line to make his first appearance of the season if he is called upon.

Form: Ospreys are one of just two unbeaten teams in the RaboDirect PRO12 this year, and have won their last ten home games at Liberty Stadium in the tournament since Glasgow won there just over 12 months ago. Just one team from across the Irish Sea has won in Swansea since April 2011: Ulster themselves, 16-13 in September 2012. Ulster have now won their last two fixtures, against Connacht and Treviso, to end a three game losing run. The Ulstermen have already been defeated by a Welsh Region this season, going down 8-15 to the Dragons in Newport in round 1. Both of last season's fixtures were narrowly won by the away side on the day with the overall points scored in the two games being Ospreys 29, Ulster 28. Five of the last six encounters have seen the losing side gain a bonus point.

The teams:

Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Tyler Ardron, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Ryan Bevington.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 James King, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Tom Habberfield, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Ben John.

Ulster: 15 Craig Gilroy, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Michael Allen, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Johann Muller, 3 Declan Fitzpatrick, 2 R Best (c), 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Black, 18 Bronson Ross, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Roger Wilson, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Stuart Olding, 23 Darren Cave.

Date: Friday, October 4
Kick-off: 19:05 BST
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Assistant referees : Jon Mason (Wales) and Wayne Davies(Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)