Planet Rugby

Preview: Ospreys v Cardiff Blues

31st December 2009 12:58

Share:

Lee Byrne Tigers

Starter: Lee Byrne

The Ospreys will be looking to cement their position at the right end of the Magners League table with a derby victory over Cardiff Blues this Friday.

Following on from their Boxing Day exploits again the Scarlets, the Liberty Stadium outfit meet an improving Blues on New Year's Day, with competition points beginning to become vital as the 2010 play-off system approaches.

And Director of Coaching Scott Johnson is refusing to shirk the task that lies ahead of his star-studded side, stating that their visitors have the quality to beat any team on their day.

"With another massive derby match coming up straight away, it's the perfect chance for us to work on the areas of concern that we have after the Scarlets game, and to focus on taking us up to the next level," he said.

"We realise the size of the challenge on Friday if we are going to make it two wins from two in the derbies. Make no mistake about it, we are going up against a very good side.

"The Blues are a team packed with quality and experience, and with 10 to call upon in their squad they probably have more Lions available than any other side in the Magners League with is an indication of the strength in depth they have.

"They may not have got the results that they would have hoped for this season so far, but the quality in the squad speaks for itself. And after a good win on Sunday night, they will approach Friday's game with confidence.

"It's going to be another great occasion, just like Boxing Day was, with a big crowd and a great atmosphere. It kicks off an important month for the Ospreys, and we are all excited about what lies in store. We know that we have to get the performance right, starting with Friday."

Meanwhile, the Blues picked up a number of injuries in the victory over the Dragons and several key men are subsequently not available for selection.

Martyn Williams has had an injection in his shoulder after the Dragons match and is missing for the Ospreys match.

Jamie Roberts suffered a bang to his head against the Dragons and is out while Andy Powell misses the match due to family reasons.

Deiniol Jones is suffering with a minor neck injury picked up playing against Toulouse away and not available and finally Leigh Halfpenny picked up a minor knee injury against Toulouse and is having a scan this week. He should be fit for the trip to Edinburgh.

Form: The Blues are going for a first season's double over Ospreys since 2005/06, but have won just once before on Ospreys soil: 28-9 at Liberty Stadium on 22 December 2005. Ospreys (along with Glasgow) are the best team in the Magners League on current form, with each team gaining 19 points from their last six matches. Ospreys have won their last four games in all competitions, whilst their only defeat to a fellow Welsh region in their last six such encounters was 12-20 at today's opponents Cardiff Blues on 24 October. Cardiff Blues have won three of their last four matches in all competitions. The Blues' most recent away victory in the Magners League was 11-9 at Ulster on 24 April. Cardiff Blues have won all three games they have played against fellow Welsh sides this season.

The teams:

Ospreys: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Sonny Parker, 12 Andrew Bishop, 11 Nikki Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Ryan Jones (capt), 7 Marty Holah, 6 Jerry Collins, 5 Jonathan Thomas, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Huw Bennett, 17 Cai Griffiths, 18 Ian Evans, 19 Filo Tiatia, 20 Jamie Nutbrown, 21 Jonathan Spratt, 22 Gareth Owen.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Ben Blair, 14 Richard Mustoe, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Tom Shanklin, 11 Tom James, 10 Sam Norton-Knight, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Robin Sowden-Taylor, 6 Sam Warburton, 5 Scott Morgan, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Gary Powell, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Gethin Jenkins (c).
Replacements: 16 Gareth Williams, 17 Taufa'au Filise, 18 Paul Tito, 19 Ben White, 20 Gareth Cooper, 21 Ceri Sweeney, 22 Gareth Thomas.

Date: Friday, January 1
Kick-off: 17:15 GMT
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Referee: James Jones (WRU)
Assistant Referees: Hugh Watkins (WRU), Jon Mason (WRU)
TMO: Derek Bevan (WRU)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks15:15
Castres vs Leinster13:00
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Preview
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Brive vs Zebre18:30
Grenoble vs London Irish18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs Lions17:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs Tasman19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615