Ospreys lock James King looks to put Wales disappointment behind him
JAMES King has the chance to show Wales what they are missing over the next four weeks.
The Ospreys forward can count himself among the most unlucky players to have been overlooked by Warren Gatland for the autumn internationals.
He finds himself in good company. At the Scarlets both Aaron Shingler and Samson Lee would be disappointed at missing out on the squad who open the November test series with a clash against South Africa next Saturday.
King is highly rated by the people in charge at the Liberty. His form last season earned him a place on Wales's summer tour to Japan, and he was one of the few players to emerge from a disappointing tour in credit.
And the lock will be a key figure for the region in the coming weeks.
With Alun Wyn Jones, Ian Evans and Ryan Jones all on Wales duty, a lot will rest on King's shoulders until the time Heineken Cup action resumes in December.
The first of those tests comes this evening, with the Ospreys making the trip to Limerick to face Pro12 leaders Munster.
A visit to Thomond Park is tough at the best of times. Heading there with 14 players away on international duty makes it particularly daunting.
King teams up with Lloyd Peers in the second row tonight.
And Ospreys' assistant coach Gruff Rees believes he goes into the game in top form after a fine showing in the victory over the Dragons last week.
"Do we feel he's unlucky? From the way we see the game, yes," he said.
"We're really comfortable with him anywhere in our back five, but especially at five.
"His line-out calling is smart in the heat of the moment and his numbers around the park tend to be excellent — and that was more so the case last weekend.
"It was a good response to not being selected by Wales. We saw a bit more from him around the park. There was more of a shared workload.
"It wasn't just Hibbs (Richard Hibbard) and Alun Wyn doing all the work, which they usually do manfully. We actually saw more from King and one or two others in the pack, which was pleasing.
"We have the highest regard for him.
"But the competition for places in Wales is to be envied as well."