Alun Wyn Jones makes Ospreys return for Sharks game

Date published: October 7 2021 - News Desk

There are two matches scheduled to take place on Friday in the inaugural United Rugby Championship season with Ospreys and Ulster taking on the Sharks and Benetton in their respective matches.

Ospreys v Sharks

Alun Wyn Jones returns to the Ospreys starting line-up for the first time this season lining up alongside fellow British and Irish Lion Adam Beard in the second-row.

An unchanged front-row of Nicky Smith, Sam Parry and Tomas Francis go again with Will Griffiths, Jac Morgan and Morgan Morris packing down to complete the scrum.

Gareth Anscombe and Rhys Webb pair up as the half-backs with Webb as captain once again. Dan Evans returns to the backline with Luke Morgan and Mat Protheroe lining up on the wings.

Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler comes into the starting line-up to partner Owen Watkin to replace Michael Collins.

Elvis Taione, Gareth Thomas and Tom Botha provide the front-row cover, with Rhys Davies and Ethan Roots completing the forward contingent off the bench. Reuben Morgan-Williams, Stephen Myler and Joe Hawkins complete the matchday 23.

Meanwhile, Sharks head coach Sean Everitt has made a number of changes to his starting line-up for this encounter.

Springbok prop Thomas du Toit is handed the captaincy role, but the rest of the front-row has been changed with Ntuthuko Mchunu in for Khwezi Mona and Kerron van Vuuren for Fez Mbatha (injured). Du Toit will lead the team because Phepsi Buthelezi plays off the bench this week.

Hyron Andrews and Ruben van Heerden make a return as the lock partnership, with Le Roux Roets getting a break, while James Venter comes in for Dylan Richardson with Henco Venter named at number eight.

In the midfield, Marius Louw and Jeremy Ward will partner up in place of Murray Koster and Werner Kok while Marnus Potgieter replaces Yaw Penxe, and Anthony Volmink will start at full-back in place of Curwin Bosch.

Potgieter, Volmink and Dan Jooste (on the replacements bench) will be making their United Rugby Championship debuts in this match.

The teams:

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Mat Protheroe, 13 Tiaan Thomas Wheeler, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Luke Morgan, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Rhys Webb (c), 8 Morgan Morris, 7 Jac Morgan, 6 Will Griffiths, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Nicky Smith
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Rhys Davies, 20 Ethan Roots, 21 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Joe Hawkins

Sharks: 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Marnus Potgieter, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Gerbrandt Grobler, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit (c), 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Khwezi Mona, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Phepsi Buthelezi, 21 Dylan Richardson, 22 Sanele Nohamba, 23 Werner Kok

Venue: Swansea.com Stadium
Kick-off: 19:35 BST (18:35 GMT)
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Craig Evans (Wales), Carwyn Williams (Wales)
TMO: Leo Colgan (Ireland)

Ulster v Benetton

Hooker Rob Herring will become the seventh player to reach the 200-appearance milestone for the Ulster men, having been named in the match-day squad to face Benetton at Kingspan Stadium on Friday.

Herring has been named alongside Andrew Warwick and Tom O’Toole in the front-row. Sam Carter comes in to partner Alan O’Connor, and Carter will also skipper the side.

Matty Rea is named at blindside flanker, with Nick Timoney at openside, and David McCann completing the base of the pack at number eight.

The backline that started last Saturday against Zebre has been retained. Will Addison is selected at full-back with Ethan McIlroy and Craig Gilroy on the wings. Stewart Moore and James Hume will form the centre partnership, and Nathan Doak and Billy Burns are named at scrum-half and fly-half.

The forward replacements will be Brad Roberts, Callum Reid, Ross Kane, Mick Kearney and Sean Reidy, and the backline options are David Shanahan, Mike Lowry and Ben Moxham.

Meanwhile, Benetton’s hero of last weekend, Leonardo Marin, has been handed a start against Ulster in the URC.

Marin kicked a late drop-goal to snatch a win against Edinburgh and he partners Callum Braley at half-back in an entirely changed backline.

Rhyno Smith, Ratuva Tavuyara, Marco Zanon, Tommaso Benvenuti and Luca Sperandio also come into the XV.

There are plenty of changes in the pack too, with Michele Lamaro, Giovanni Pettinelli and Federico Ruzza the only players to retain their places.

The teams:

Ulster: 15 Will Addison, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 James Hume, 12 Stewart Moore, 11 Ethan McIlroy, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Nathan Doak, 8 David McCann, 7 Nick Timoney, 6 Matty Rea, 5 Sam Carter (c), 4 Alan O’Connor, 3 Tom O’Toole, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Andrew Warwick
Replacements: 16 Brad Roberts, 17 Callum Reid, 18 Ross Kane, 19 Mick Kearney, 20 Sean Reidy, 21 David Shanahan, 22 Mike Lowry, 23 Ben Moxham

Benetton: 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Ratuva Tavuyara, 13 Marco Zanon, 12 Tommaso Benvenuti, 11 Luca Sperandio, 10 Leonardo Marin, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Braam Steyn, 7 Michele Lamaro (c), 6 Giovanni Pettinelli, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Irné Herbst, 3 Ivan Nemer, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Federico Zani
Replacements: 16 Tomas Baravalle, 17 Cherif Traoré, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Marco Lazzaroni, 20 Sebastian Negri, 21 Lorenzo Cannone, 22 Luca Petrozzi, 23 Luca Morisi

Venue: Kingspan Stadium
Kick-off: 19:35 BST (18:35 GMT)
Referee: AM Jacobs (SARU)
Assistant Referees: Paul Haycock (IRFU), Andrew Cole (IRFU)
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen (SARU)