Wholesale changes not on coach Tandy's mind
STEVE Tandy has ruled out making wholesale changes to his Ospreys side for the must-win Heineken Cup pool encounter against Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens on Sunday.
Ian Evans (Achilles) and Ben John (groin) are both struggling to feature in the encounter in the East Midlands.
Tandy may be tempted to make the odd alteration after the damaging 19-9 home setback against Leinster but there will be no night of the long knives in selection.
"There won't be too much of a shake-up," said Tandy. "We don't become a bad team overnight.
"We've had a reasonable start to the season — indeed, apart from half an hour against Ulster, we had a fantastic start.
"So it's not going to take a lot to put right. We've addressed the areas where we feel we need to improve, starting on Monday and having a good physical hit-out on Tuesday. There won't be wholesale changes."
But the frustrating start to the European season could continue for Lions lock Evans.
Out of contract at the end of the season, he failed to make the side for the Leinster game and has now developed an injury that leaves him doubtful for the trip to Northampton.
"Ian's struggling this week with a bit of an Achilles issue," said Tandy.
"And Ben John is really struggling after hurting his groin."
It leaves Evans where he wouldn't want to be barely three weeks away from Wales's autumn-series opener against South Africa.
But he has been outstanding for Warren Gatland in the past and will hope he has enough credit in the bank to secure his place in the squad for the November games.
Certainly, the Ospreys raised eyebrows with their decision to leave him out for the opening round of Heineken Cup action, instead giving the nod to James King.
King repaid the faith with a strong game alongside Alun Wyn Jones, one that saw him make 13 tackles and take four line-outs, including one steal.
The Ospreys do not feel the selection of King had any bearing on their defeat and Tandy defended the decision yesterday.
"We felt we picked a team to win the game against Leinster," he said.
"We felt that was the right team to go and attack Leinster and I don't see any differences after the game.
"That was just the way we wanted to go with that selection."