Planet Rugby

Preview: Ospreys v Zebre

03rd January 2013 11:15

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Matthew Morgan Ospreys

Full-back: Matthew Morgan

Young star Matthew Morgan will start at full-back for the Ospreys against Zebre on Friday in the RaboDirect PRO12.

"We've built up some good momentum over the last few weeks which have put us in a decent place in terms of pushing into the top four of the PRO12 and keeping our European hopes alive," said Steve Tandy.

"We mustn't let that hard work and effort go to waste now though, and it's important that we perform well against Zebre on Friday night.

"As with any Italian team they are a tough, physical bunch and going into the game on the back of two Welsh derbies in five days we need to use the squad as much as we can for this one.

"We know that they will make life difficult for us but we have to focus on our own game, and concentrate on what we need to do to ensure we get the performance levels we expect from the group.

Meanwhile, Zebre will be eager to bounce back from their back-to-back defeats to Italian neighbours Treviso when they run out at Liberty Stadium on Friday.

Gonzalo Garcia leads the side from centre while Paolo Buso and Alberto Chillon are at fly-half and scrum-half respectively.

Form: Ospreys have won their last eight games at Liberty Stadium in all competitions. They suffered a first ever loss to an Italian side when they visited Treviso on 31 August. Zebre are still attempting to open their winning account, the new franchise slipping to a dozen straight reversals in the RaboDirect PRO12 so far. Ospreys won 34-16 when the two sides met in round six.

The teams:

Ospreys: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Ross Jones, 13 Tom Issacs, 12 Andrew Bishop, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Jonathan Thomas, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Jamies King, 5 Lloyd Peers, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Adam Jones (c), 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Duncan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Campbell Johnstone, 19 George Stowers, 20 Morgan Allen, 21 Kahn Fotuali'i, 22 Jonathan Spratt, 23 Richard Fussell.

Zebre: 15 Alberto Benettin, 14 Giovanbattista Venditti, 13 Roberto Quartaroli, 12 Gonzalo Garcia (capt) 11 Samuele Pace, 10 Paolo Buso, 9 Alberto Chillon, 8 Andries Van Schalkwyk, 7 Nicola Belardo, 6 Filippo Ferrarini, 5 Michael Van Vuren, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 David Ryan, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Andrea De Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Carlo Fazzari, 18 Luciano Leibson, 19 Emiliano Caffini, 20 Daniel Halangahu, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Alberto Chiesa, 23 Ruggero Trevisan.

Date: Friday, January 4
Kick-off: 19:05
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Referee: Neil Paterson
Assistant Referees: Neil Hennessy, Neil Perkins
Citing Commissioner: Russell Howard (WRU)

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Ospreys vs Benetton TrevisoTBC
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Ulster vs ZebreTBC
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