Number eight Joe Bearman will make his 50th appearance for the Ospreys when they kick-off their PRO12 campaign at Treviso on Saturday.
Ospreys number eight Joe Bearman will make his 50th appearance for the region when they kick-off their PRO12 season away to Treviso on Saturday.
Bearman lines up alongside Sam Lewis and Tom Smith in the back-row while Ryan Jones leads the team from lock, in a partnership with James King.
Tito Tebaldi will make his competitive debut for the Ospreys at scrum-half while Canadian international Jeff Hassler is in the replacements.
“It's been a very long pre-season, we've had some boys back in since the start of June, so it's good to be getting back into PRO12 action this weekend. It's a tough start; Treviso beat every Welsh team at home last season, and we lost twice out there, so we know that we have to be at our best from the very first whistle,” said head coach Steve Tandy.
“This time of year is an exciting one. We've got new faces in the group, so have the opposition, and there's always an element of the unknown about these first few games because every club approaches the first few weeks of the season differently. As far as we are concerned, it's crucial that we start the season better than we did last time. Three defeats early on left us with too much to do in terms of securing a top four spot, so we have to make sure we get off to a better start.
“If we can get our performance level right, if we know our roles, then we can be competitive. We'll focus on the things that we can control, and hopefully we can build on what we did last season. We've got an exciting, young group of players with a fantastic attitude, who have a real pride in representing the region, and if we pull together, we can have an enjoyable season.”
Meanwhile, Treviso have named a strong team as they look to kick-off with a home win.
The Italian side is led by second-row forward Antonio Pavanello in front of an impressive back-row trio of Robert Barbieri, Alessandro Zanni and Manoa Vosawai.
Edoardo Gori and Alberto Di Bernardo are the half-back combination while Brendan Williams, Ludovico Nitoglia and Luke McLean form an attack-minded back-three.
Form: Benetton Treviso begin the season at home for the fourth successive year and must be hoping to repeat 2012/13 when they also beat Ospreys at Stadio Monigo 12-6. Treviso have lost just one of their last seven RaboDirect PRO12 encounters and have won their last five home games against Welsh regions in all competitions. Ospreys finished off last season with a pair of defeats to Glasgow and Leinster, whilst their only previous loss to an Italian side in the PRO12 came in this equivalent fixture last campaign. The two teams met on four occasions last year, including two in the European Cup, with all four encounters being won by the home side on the day.
Treviso: 15 Brendan Williams, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Luke McLean, 10 Alberto Di Bernardo, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Manoa Vosawai, 5 Valerio BernabÃ², 4 Antonio Pavanello (capt), 3 Alberto De Marchi, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Giovanni Maistri, 17 Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Dean Budd, 20 Christian Loamanu, 21 Simone Favaro, 22 Fabio Semenzato, 23 Tobias Botes.
Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Ben John, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Tom Smith, 5 James King, 4 Ryan Jones (capt), 3 Joe Rees, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Ryan Bevington.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Adam Jones, 19 Ian Evans, 20 Morgan Allen, 21 Tom Grabham, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Jeff Hassler.
Date: Saturday, September 7
Venue: Stadio Monigo
Kick-off: 19.30 BST (18.30 GMT)
Referee: Neil Paterson (SRU)