Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy: European adventures helped youngsters
OSPREYS head coach Steve Tandy believes the region's crop of exciting young talent will have gained a huge amount from their first foray into Europe.
The defending Pro12 champions take on Treviso in northern Italy tomorrow (3pm) with qualification hopes having ended with last weekend's gripping 15-15 draw with Leicester Tigers.
Tandy has rung the changes for the Pool 2 finale with wing Tom Grabham handed his Heineken Cup debut and lock Lloyd Peers and flanker Sam Lewis given their first European starts.
With the likes of Eli Walker, James King and Scott Baldwin also in the starting line-up, tomorrow's side offers a glimpse of what Tandy believes is a bright future for the Liberty side.
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"This is a young group with so many players experiencing their first games at this level, and they will benefit from this season," said Tandy. "We need to ensure that they keep working hard, they remain determined to improve and be the best they can, and they retain that desire and passion that has stood them in such good stead this season.
"If we can do that, then we can look to the future with real positivity."
The Ospreys are bracing themselves for another stiff test at the Stadio Monigo, having been beaten 12-6 at the ground in the opening weekend of the Pro12.
"We know that we're in for a tough afternoon.
"Treviso are extremely physical, extremely tough, and they will want to finish on a high after games against Leicester and Toulouse," added Tandy.
"It's been a tough pool. We always knew it would be, up against some outstanding teams, but we've stood toe-to-toe with the likes of Leicester and Toulouse.
"Although it's disappointing to be out of contention before the final round of fixtures, there's no talk here of dead rubbers or anything like that.
"We have a group of players here who want to perform in every game, who play for the cause and for the shirt, so they will be going out there determined to put in a positive performance."
Flanker Justin Tipuric is rested, while Ryan Jones (thumb) and Richard Hibbard (shoulder) miss out after picking up knocks against Leicester.
Treviso: L. McLean; L. Nitoglia, T. Benvenuti, A. Sgarbi, G. Toniolatti; K. Burton, E. Gori; M. Rizzo, G. Maistri, L. Cittadini, A. Pavanello (capt), F. Minto, P. Derbyshire, R. Barbieri, A. Zanni. Reps: E. Ceccato, A. De Marchi, I. Fernandez-Rouyet, M. Fuser, V. Bernabo, D. Budd, F. Semenzato, A. Pratichetti.
Ospreys: R. Fussell; T. Grabham, T. Isaacs, A. Bishop, E. Walker; D. Biggar, K. Fotuali'i (capt); D. Jones, S. Baldwin, A. Jones, L. Peers, J. King, J. Thomas, J. Bearman, S. Lewis. Reps: M. Dwyer, R. Bevington, C. Johnstone, I. Gough, G. Stowers, R. Webb, M. Morgan, J. Spratt.