VIDEO: Ospreys ready to unleash Lions on Edinburgh
ALUN Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric are set to return for the Ospreys at the Liberty on Saturday night — part of a full complement of Lions the former Pro12 champions have pencilled in to be involved against Edinburgh.
For his team’s first home game of the season, Steve Tandy plans to name both forwards in his squad along with fellow tourists Adam Jones, Richard Hibbard and Ian Evans, who have featured in the opening two matches.
The Ospreys hope the return of their big five will add to the momentum that is building after a positive start that has seen them beat Treviso in Italy and draw against Leinster in Dublin.
BELOW: Backs Coach, Gruff Rees, hosts the Ospreys weekly press briefing ahead of the RaboDirect PRO12 Rd 3 fixture against Edinburgh at the Liberty Stadium this weekend:
“All our Lions will be available,” said assistant coach Gruff Rees.
“We’ll decide on the make-up of the starting XV later in the week. At this point there are a few selection conundrums we need to work through.
“The Lions boys who have been on the bench have been excellent in terms of impact in both games so far this season, and there’s a possibility they may be considered for starting berths.
“But we have a lot of strength in the back five, with a number of players manning up brilliantly in the opening two games — Joe Bearman, Tom Smith, Sam Lewis and James King, for instance.
“Alun Wyn is going to be desperate to start.
“We have to take into account the fatigue levels that are potentially there and work out how to get the best out of the whole group over the next month.”
Also in the mix could be Ryan Jones, who missed last weekend’s draw in Dublin because of injury.
Jones skippered the region against Treviso, his first game in six months, only to pick up a bump to the right shoulder which forced him off early in the second half.
But fears that the 32-year-old could face another extended lay-off have been allayed.
“He will be ready for the Edinburgh game,” said Rees.
“We could have pushed him through for last weekend, but we have a lot of strength in the back five and we wanted to see some of the other players step up to the mark.
“We’ve been able to give them game-time and we have some nice selection headaches in that area early in the season.”
Aaron Jarvis is another who is on his way back, in his case from the serious knee injury he sustained playing for Wales against New Zealand last November.
“Aaron should be back over the next two or three weeks,” added Rees.
“He’s had a few little setbacks along the way.
“We were hoping he’d be ready at the back end of pre-season but that didn’t transpire. Joe Rees has since had opportunities, while Adam has come in and done some magnificent stuff off the bench. Hopefully, Jarvy will give us more options going into the Connacht and Ulster weeks that are coming up.”