Forgotten star of the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour, Dan Lydiate, will lead Ospreys for the third time this season when they take on Leinster this weekend. The 32-year-old be will joined in the engine room by Wales Test internationals Adam Beard and Bradley Davis.
The chop tackle technique became a mini-trend in the game in the early 2010s and Lydiate was its key exponent and was largely credited for driving its popularity. Capped 64 times for his country, injury and a move to Racing 92 disrupted his Test career.
The 32-year-old hasn’t been capped by Wales since 2016 when a cruel injury against South Africa once again put pay to any Test ambitions.
Alongside him in the back-row is Gareth Evans at number 8 and Will Griffiths who makes his first PRO14 start for the Ospreys. An unchanged front five sees Rhodri Jones, Dewi Lake and Ma’afu Fia line up in the front-row and Adam Beard and Bradley Davies in the second. Ifan Phillips, Gareth Thomas and Tom Botha provide the cover off the bench alongside Olly Cracknell and Ospreys debutant Rhys Davies.
In the backs Cai Evans comes into the starting line-up alongside the unchanged duo of Luke Morgan and Mat Protheroe on the wings. Joe Hawkins and Scott Williams maintain the centre partnership with Reuben Morgan-Williams and Josh Thomas taking the keys to nine and ten shirts once again.
Off the bench Callum Carson is named after making his PRO14 debut last weekend, alongside the experienced duo of Hanno Dirksen and Shaun Venter.
Speaking ahead of the game, Head Coach Toby Booth said: “I am less worried about Leinster and where they are in their journey as a team, everyone knows how good they are, they are the market leaders in the PRO14. Everyone knows they are there to aspire to but we can’t control them and I am more interested in what we do and how we respond from last week.
“The character side of our team I am really proud of. The ability to keep fighting until the bitter end and we came up short, only just, last Monday, but if we have good character, a good culture and consistent performances you get closer to teams like Leinster.
“We are looking forward to the challenge and it’s another opportunity to see where we are.”
15. Cai Evans
14. Mat Protheroe
13. Scott Williams
12. Joe Hawkins
11. Luke Morgan
10. Josh Thomas
9. Reuben Morgan-Williams
1. Rhodri Jones
2. Dewi Lake
3. Ma’afu Fia
4. Adam Beard
5. Bradley Davies
6. Will Griffiths
7. Dan Lydiate ©
16. Ifan Phillips
17. Gareth Thomas
18. Tom Botha
19. Rhys Davies
20. Olly Cracknell
21. Shaun Venter
22. Callum Carson
23. Hanno Dirksen.
Liberty Stadium, Swansea
Referee: Sam Grove-White (SRU, 10th Championship Appearance)
Assistant Referees: Adam Jones and Ben Whitehouse (both WRU)
TMO: Tim Hayes (WRU)
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