Stuart Davies: Lewis challenge to Tipuric great news for Ospreys
WHEN you consider what Justin Tipuric achieved last season, with Wales and, of course, the Lions, it seems bizarre to suggest he has had to look over his shoulder at the form of another young openside at the Ospreys.
But that is an indication how well Sam Lewis has been performing for Steve Tandy's side.
Lewis has been outstanding in the No. 7 jersey in the opening weeks and it has got to the stage that if Tipuric were to sit out a big game, Ospreys fans wouldn't be overly concerned at Lewis stepping in.
That said, Tipuric delivered another openside masterclass in what was another excellent Ospreys win in Connacht last Saturday
Of course, even though only a year separates them in age, Lewis and Tipuric are at very different places in their rugby careers.
For Lewis it is about establishing himself at the Liberty, even though he has already become a fans' favourite with his tenacity in defence and I certainly wouldn't be worried about him getting frustrated about a top player like Tipuric being ahead of him in the pecking order because there will be plenty of opportunities coming his way.
Going back to the Ospreys' victory in Galway, you can't overstate how good a win that was.
They are in very, very good shape at the moment, although they will face a tough test against Ulster in Swansea this evening with the men from Belfast having picked up their game after a sluggish start to the campaign.
In my first column of the season I suggested that no Welsh regions would emerge from their Heineken Cup pool.
But with the Ospreys pack delivering like they are and Dan Biggar pulling the strings expertly at ten, they have a good recipe to their game and could well upset some of the big guns in Europe. Certainly, I don't think Leinster, Northampton or Castres would fancy a trip to Swansea at present.
A few miles west and there is also a big game for the Scarlets with Pro12 leaders Glasgow the visitors to Parc y Scarlets tomorrow.
In the past, we have been guilty of dismissing the threat of the Scottish sides, but Glasgow have shown this season they are genuine contenders.
Hopefully, we can see more stardust from Jordan Williams.
You always wonder whether a player can step up from under-20s rugby to the senior game, but Williams showed at Murrayfield in the way that he took his try that he is some talent.
For all the talk of big players leaving the regional game, Lewis and Williams are showing that Welsh rugby's conveyor belt remains in good working order.