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- Guinness PRO12
- 8th Sep 2012
- KO 18:30
- Ground: Liberty Stadium, Swansea
- Att: 8,566
Ospreys v Ulster: Teams
At Liberty Stadium, Saturday September 8, kick-off 6.30pm
The Ospreys will be looking to bounce back from defeat in Italy last week in Saturday's PRO12 clash with Ulster at Liberty Stadium.
Ospreys suffered a 12-6 reversal to Benetton Treviso and next face an Ulster side who began the new season with an 18-10 victory over Glasgow.
Ospreys backs coach Gruff Rees is expecting a stern examination from the visitors.
He said: "It's going to be a tough game against a quality team that has really grown over the last couple of years as seen by their Heineken Cup run last season that saw them go all the way to the final.
"Brian McLaughlin did a great job and Mark Anscombe their new coach is looking to really build on that this year with some quality signings to enhance an already strong squad.
"For us it's a great game to kick-off at home and we'll be expecting a big crowd on a lovely evening so it should be great occasion.
"We'll want to do well, to make sure we send all our season-ticket holders home happy, but in order to do that we'll have to make big improvements to our discipline and our attention to details from where we were last Friday in Treviso.
"We need to tighten up and find a little bit more composure, while keeping the right balance to ensure that we are always in control of ourselves. That's an area where we let ourselves down in the first half last time.
"We've made a few changes for this game, changes we were always going to make in order to allow players to have a fair chance to stake a claim for a place in the opening weeks of the season. It's up to those coming in to put their hands up now and show that they deserve a chance to retain the jersey, but what it will do is help to ensure everything stays competitive."
Ulster coach Mark Anscombe has continued to rotate his squad with Declan Fitzpatrick, Niall O'Connor and Darren Cave all coming into the starting XV.
The Ulster coach has also been boosted by the return of Ireland internationals Andrew Trimble and Stephen Ferris who are named on a vastly experienced replacements bench.
The only change up front sees Fitzpatrick replace John Afoa at tighthead prop, where he is joined in the front-row by hooker Rob Herring and Callum Black.
Captain Johann Muller and Lewis Stevenson continue their hard working partnership in the second-row, while the loose forward trio of Sean Doyle, Robbie Diack and Nick Williams will be hoping to continue their impressive form from last week.
With Paddy Jackson still not fully recovered from his calf injury, O'Connor will start ahead of Paddy Jackson at fly-half, with Michael Heaney retaining the number nine jersey. Cave has been promoted from the bench to start at outside centre at the expense of Chris Farrell. Luke Marshall, Michael Allen, Craig Gilroy and Jared Payne complete the backline.
Anscombe is delighted to welcome back Ferris and Trimble to his match-day squad.
"When you bring players of that calibre back into the mix it gives everyone a lift. The two boys haven't played much rugby in a while so you have to put that in perspective and not expect too much from them this early. Putting them on the bench is a good way of easing them back in," he said.
Explaining the changes to his starting team, he added: "With Paddy Jackson it was a precaution with his calf; he's not 100 per cent but he's feeling much better than he was and he's progressing well. It wasn't worth the risk and we wanted to give Niall another chance to show what he can do.
"Darren Cave was on the bench last week, he's been training with the team now for a few weeks and I though he came on for the last quarter of an hour last week and added greatly to the team. He's an international so he brings that experience to a youthful backline. Declan is the same, he's been training well and we wanted to have a look at him from the start."
Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Tom Isaacs, 10 Matthew Morgan, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Jonathan Thomas, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 James King, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Ian Gough, 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Ryan Bevington.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Joe Rees, 19 George Stowers, 20 Joe Bearman, 21 Kahn Fotuali'i, 22 Dan Biggar, 23 Tom Grabham.
Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Michael Allen , 10 Niall O'Connor, 9 Michael Heaney, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Sean Doyle, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Lewis Stevenson, 4 Johann Muller (c), 3 Declan Fitzpatrick, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Callum Black.
Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Tom Court, 18 John Afoa, 19 Neil McComb, 20 Stephen Ferris, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Paddy Jackson, 23 Andrew Trimble.
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Saturday 20th December|
|14:40||Glasgow Warriors vs Munster|
|17:15||Ospreys vs Ulster|
|Sunday 21st December|
|16:00||Dragons vs Zebre|
|Friday 26th December|
|14:05||Cardiff Blues vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|17:00||Munster vs Leinster|
|18:45||Ulster vs Connacht|
|Saturday 27th December|
|14:40||Glasgow vs Edinburgh|
|17:15||Ospreys vs Scarlets|
|Sunday 28th December|
|14:00||Zebre vs Treviso|
|Thursday 1st January|
|14:05||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Cardiff Blues|
|17:00||Connacht vs Munster|
|Friday 2nd January|
|19:35||Edinburgh vs Glasgow Warriors|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|14:00||Treviso vs Zebre|
|14:40||Leinster vs Ulster|
|17:05||Scarlets vs Ospreys|
|Friday 9th January|
|19:35||Connacht vs Edinburgh|
|19:35||Glasgow vs Scarlets|
|Saturday 10th January|
|14:40||Cardiff Blues vs Leinster|
|15:00||Zebre vs Munster|
|Sunday 11th January|
|14:00||Treviso vs Ulster|
|16:00||Ospreys vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Wednesday 14th January|
|TBC||Leinster vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Ulster vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Munster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 19th December|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 9 Scarlets|
|Edinburgh 48 - 0 Treviso|
|Leinster 21 - 11 Connacht|
|Sunday 30th November|
|Glasgow Warriors 19 - 15 Dragons|
|Saturday 29th November|
|Connacht 14 - 8 Scarlets|
|Leinster 18 - 12 Ospreys|
|Zebre 18 - 10 Edinburgh|
|Friday 28th November|
|Cardiff Blues 36 - 25 Treviso|
|Munster 21 - 20 Ulster|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff Blues|
|Treviso 24 - 24 Leinster|
|Friday 21st November|
|Ulster 25 - 16 Ospreys|
|Connacht 43 - 3 Zebre|
|Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow Warriors|
|Dragons 12 - 38 Munster|
|Saturday 1st November|
|Ulster 23 - 6 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Scarlets 28 - 13 Zebre|
|Cardiff Blues 24 - 28 Munster|
|Friday 31st October|
|Ospreys 26 - 11 Connacht|
|Glasgow 17 - 9 Benetton Treviso|
|Leinster 33 - 8 Edinburgh|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com