Preview: Ospreys v Ulster

Date published: December 19 2014

Dan Lydiate will makes his Ospreys debut if he comes on from the bench in their Pro12 clash with Ulster this weekend.

“This young group is learning every week and the experience they are getting will prove invaluable for their long-term development,” said head coach Steve Tandy.

“We have a plan for where we want to go as a team, we know what we want to achieve together, and although it’s a long-term plan, everybody involved is pretty excited about what we are doing.

“These are two tough games at the Liberty on the next two weekend’s and we’ll need the supporters to be patient if it’s not going our way and to really get behind the team. It’s a crucial time of the season and we all need to do our bit.”

Meanwhile, Ulster head coach, Neil Doak, has made two changes to the starting XV that lost narrowly to Scarlets at Parc y Scarlets last weekend.

Michael Allen is named on the left wing and replaces Craig Gilroy who is rested for the match.

Andrew Warwick, who signed his first senior contract with the province this week, starts at loosehead with Callum Black selected on the bench.

Ireland centre, Stuart Olding, has recovered from injury and is named on the bench. Sean Reidy and Peter Nelson are also selected as replacements.

Form: Ospreys only victory in their last eight matches in all competitions was 26-11 at home to Connacht in round 7 of the Pro12.
The Welshmen have won their last seven Pro12 matches at Liberty Stadium since Munster were the visitors in February. Ulster’s last six Pro12 matches have all been won by the home side on the day whilst their only away win in any tournament since May came in Cardiff on 19th September – this is their only victory in Wales since October 2013. Ospreys have beaten Ulster just once in their last six encounters: 16-12 in Belfast in February 2013. The Ulstermen have not lost in Swansea since September 2011.

The teams:

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Ashley Beck, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Tyler Aldron, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 James King, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Rynier Bernardo, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Marc Thomas
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Daniel Suter, 19 Dan Lydiate, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Andrew Bishop

Ulster: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Michael Allen, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Clive Ross, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Francois van der Merwe, 4 Dan Tuohy, 3 Declan Fitzpatrick, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Andrew Warwick
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Black, 18 Bronson Ross, 19 Alan O’Connor, 20 Sean Reidy, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Stuart Olding, 23 Peter Nelson

Date: Saturday, December 20
Kickoff: 17:15 GMT
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Referee: Neil Paterson
Assistant Referees: Nigel Owens, Chris Williams
TMO: Tim Hayes