Ospreys set to unleash Tom Grabham
THE Ospreys unleash hot prospect Tom Grabham in the Pro12 encounter against Glasgow in Swansea tonight (7.05), with Steve Tandy declaring: “He’s ready.”
The part-time biochemistry student at Bath University impressed off the bench in the defeats against Treviso and Ulster.
But now 21-year-old Grabham, a converted scrum-half, is plunged into the starting line-up for the first time, with a dead leg ruling out Tom Isaacs.
“He’s ready,” said Tandy. “Grabs has been a nine for the past couple of seasons, but we feel he has the attributes to be a real good wing.
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“He’s intelligent and while he’s not the biggest man in the world, he has a really positive attitude in trying to chase kicks, make tackles and take up good positions.
“He showed that in the 20 minutes he had against Ulster.
“We are not putting too much pressure on him because he’s a young lad who is starting out in the game but we feel he has promise.”
Grabham is following in the footsteps of a legend in taking the positional route from scrum-half to wing. Shane Williams did exactly the same thing at the outset of his career, the switch heralding one of the great careers.
Grabham will be grateful to achieve even a fraction of what Williams managed, but the youngster from Bridgend does have talent, with searing pace, quick feet and a nose for the try line.
He also isn’t fazed by reputations, as he showed when catching the eye in a pre-season friendly against All Black Sitivenu Sivivatu, of Clermont Auvergne.
“Considering it was his first game at that level, he did well,” said Tandy.
“We gave him game-time against Clermont and Bath and we have been pleased with him off the bench in the Pro12. He has looked sharp.”
The Ospreys coaches have rung the changes after the 16-13 home defeat by Ulster, bringing in Jonathan Spratt, Grabham and Dan Biggar behind, Duncan Jones, Ian Evans, George Stowers and Joe Bearman up front.
Justin Tipuric takes over the captaincy, with Alun Wyn Jones moving to the bench and Ian Evans returning alongside Ian Gough at second row.
A bump sees Jonathan Thomas ruled out, so Bearman comes back at No. 8, with Stowers taking over at blindside from James King. The Ospreys will look to Stowers to take them over the gain-line.