Thursday, 24 September 2009

Evans makes welcome Ospreys return

Wales second row Ian Evans is named in the Ospreys 22 for the first time since undergoing ACL reconstruction surgery after he injured his knee playing for Wales against New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium last November.

The Ospreys will be seeking a morale boosting victory against Glasgow in tomorrow’s Magners League clash at Firhill (KO 7.05pm).

Alun-Wyn Jones and Shane Williams make their first starts since the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa this summer, while Steve Tandy is also handed his first start of the season.

Ospreys Head Coach, Sean Holley, commented: "We need to get on a bit of a roll and get some performances under our belt, starting at Glasgow. It was a happy hunting ground for us last year, we played well up there, but it's always a very difficult place to go so we're under no illusions. Munster and the Scarlets have been beaten there this year so it's going to be a difficult game. They've got an outstanding set of half-backs, who play for territory well and they've got a very tenacious pack. They've got a very good mix there and we are going to have to improve significantly to do well there.

"Of course we're disappointed by the two most recent performances, that goes without saying, but it's important that, as coaches, we remain level headed and focused on the job in hand, which is to guide the Ospreys to where we want to take them as a coaching team, and we realise that it's not easy and it won't happen overnight. We're making changes, and we know that some of them will take time, we're making progress every session.

“This time last year we'd raced to a seven try win against Ulster, we'd won in Glasgow, beaten the Blues with a bonus point and were top of the Magners League. Come the end of the season it was a different story. We realise it's a long haul and that's what we've focused on this week, working at what we believe is right and keep trying to improve.

“The important thing is that the people here realise that what we are attempting to do will benefit everybody at the Ospreys in the long run, so they are buying into it, and are working together to pull us in the right direction. Despite the disappointment there is a unity and togetherness that we believe will see us through.

"Marty Holah has been one of our outstanding players in the early part of the season so we're giving him a well earned rest. Steve Tandy has impressed during the warm-up games and in training so deserves his chance.

“It's great to have Ian Evans back, it's been a long slog for him and we're delighted to have him back in our squad. With Ian and Alun-Wyn now both available, it's allowed us to give Ian Gough a rest as well, before we focus on some of the big tests that we've got coming up over the next few weeks."

15 Lee Byrne 14 Tommy Bowe 13 Sonny Parker 12 James Hook 11 Shane Williams 10 Dan Biggar 9 Mike Phillips; 1 Paul James 2 Huw Bennett 3 Craig Mitchell 4 Alun-Wyn Jones 5 Jonathan Thomas 6 Tom Smith 7 Steve Tandy
8 Ryan Jones (capt)

16 Richard Hibbard 17 Duncan Jones 18 Ian Evans 19 Jerry Collins 20 Jamie Nutbrown 21 Gareth Owen 22 Nikki Walker

15 Bernardo Stortoni 14 Rob Dewey 13 Dave McCall 12 Graeme Morrison 11 Thom Evans 10 Dan Parks 9 Chris Cusiter;
1 Jon Welsh 2 Dougie Hall 3 Moray Low 4 Tim Barker 5 Alastair Kellock CAPTAIN 6 Kelly Brown 7 John Barclay 8 Johnnie Beattie

16 Fergus Thomson 17 Kevin Tkachuk 18 Dan Turner 19 Richie Vernon 20 Mark McMillan 21 Colin Gregor 22 Hefin O'Hare


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