Friday, 23 October 2009

Davies has chance to impress

Barry Davies has a golden opportunity to stake his claim for the vacant Wales full back spot when the Ospreys tackle Cardiff Blues at Cardiff City Stadium tomorrow in a Magners League clash (KO 6.30pm).

The former Scarlets and Brive full back scored in last weekend's victory over Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Cup with his all round general play also impressing. With his Ospreys team mate and Wales incumbent Lee Byrne out of action due to injury, Davies has a great chance to add to his solitary cap gained while playing at Stradey Park.

The Ospreys, who will be led by Shane Williams for the first time, realise David Young's Blues side will be throwing the kitchen sink at them and coach Jonathan Humphreys is expecting a hot reception.

"We are pleased with the results of the last four games, if not the overall performances during those matches," he said. "We will take a great deal of satisfaction from putting together four games without loss but we realise that there is still some way for us to before we can say we are the finished article.

"We've seen at times during each one of those games signs of what we are capable of, but we need now to start turning those 40-minute performances into 80 minutes if we are going to achieve what we want to as a group this season.

"In the last two games we've played the English champions and the French league leaders, and now we are facing a very formidable team in the shape of Cardiff Blues. I think it's fair to say that over the last couple of years they've improved out of sight on and off the field. They've got facilities that are now probably among the best in Europe, if not the best, they have a very good, very competitive squad with more Lions than any region, so they really are looking good on and off the field.

"If you were looking a team to do well you'd have to put your money on the Blues. They took it to another level last season with their success in the two cup competitions, winning the EDF and just a penalty away from the Heineken Cup Final, and have shown in the last few weeks that once again they are a team to be reckoned with at European level. Make no mistake, we are well aware of the size of the challenge that we face on Saturday evening.

"Our supporters will be excited about the prospect of the first local derby of the season. We know how much it means to them to get one over the neighbours, and these games bring excitement to the players and coaches as well. We want to put on the kind of performance on Saturday that will make our fans proud to be an Osprey, but we know that we will need to be on top of our game if we are to achieve that."

Ospreys: 15 Barry Davies 14 Tommy Bowe 13 Sonny Parker 12 Andrew Bishop 11 Shane Williams (Capt) 10 Dan Biggar
9 Rhodri Wells; 1 Duncan Jones 2 Richard Hibbard 3 Cai Griffiths 4 Ian Gough 5 Alun-wyn Jones 6 Jerry Collins 7 Steve Tandy 8 Tom Smith

Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington 17 Paul James 18 Jonathan Thomas 19 Filo Tiatia 20 Ryan Jones 21 James Hook 22 Nikki Walker


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