RaboDirect PRO12: Friday preview
Last Updated: 29/11/13 6:57pm
Sam Davies: Handed his first PRO12 start by Ospreys
Second-placed Ospreys welcome Glasgow to fortress Liberty Stadium in the RaboDirect PRO12 on Friday night, while Newport Gwent Dragons host leaders Munster and Edinburgh tackle Connacht.
Despite having lost two of their last four matches, the Ospreys have only suffered one defeat in their last 13 PRO12 encounters on home soil.
However, Glasgow Warriors - who occupy fourth spot - can leapfrog their opponents with a win and their record in Wales is outstanding having been victorious in five of their last six visits.
The Ospreys have handed Sam Davies his first league start. The fly-half starts ahead of Matthew Morgan and is alongside Tito Tebaldi in the half-backs, with Ben John and Tom Isaacs in the midfield.
Loosehead prop Duncan Jones captains the side, which is missing plenty of internationals who are set to take on Australia on Saturday.
"Glasgow have been probably the most improved team in the league over the last few seasons and are competing consistently at the top end of the PRO12 and in Europe," said head coach Steve Tandy about the Warriors.
"We are in second place in the PRO12 and after this game, the next league fixtures will be the Christmas derbies when anything can happen, so it's important we keep building momentum, in the league and for the Heineken double-header against Castres."
Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors boss Gregor Townsend has recalled seven Scotland internationals to his starting line-up. Tommy Seymour, Sean Lamont, Ruaridh Jackson, Chris Cusiter, Ryan Grant, Pat MacArthur and Jonny Gray have all been included, as the Warriors look to bounce back from last weekend's defeat to the Dragons.
Newport Gwent Dragons welcome table-topping Munster having suffered just one defeat from their last seven matches at Rodney Parade.
Dragons boss Lyn Jones has put his faith in the team that beat Glasgow Warriors last weekend and will be hoping his troops put in a similar performance against the tournament's front-runners.
Munster veteran Paul O'Connell will start just his second league game of the season, while South African wing Gerhard van den Heever will make his debut for the Irish province.
Head coach Rob Penney has continued his rotation policy with 12 changes to the team that beat Cardiff Blues 31-10 last week, giving his players a chance to impress ahead of the crucial Heineken Cup double-header against Perpignan.
"There are some players getting an opportunity this week that will need to play well to force their hand in terms of ERC selection," said the New Zealander.
"It's exciting because the other guys have done their job and when you're growing in depth and guys are getting rotated in, then they've got to perform well when they get their opportunity."
Edinburgh take on Connacht, who have suffered seven straight defeats in the PRO12 since their opening day victory.
Ross Rennie is welcomed back for his first Edinburgh start since March.
He is one of seven Scotland caps named to start the match, with Alasdair Dickinson and David Denton returning from Scotland duty to bolster the pack, while captain Greig Laidlaw and Nick De Luca add firepower to an otherwise unchanged backline.
Connacht head coach Pat Lam has made six changes to the team that lined out against Scarlets last weekend for the trip to Murrayfield.
Irish international Robbie Henshaw starts at full-back and is joined in the back three with Connacht's record try scorer Fionn Carr and last week's try scorer Matt Healy. Former Scottish international Dan Parks has been named at fly-half.
Ronan Loughney and Mick Kearney are also named in the side while Eoin McKeon returns after missing three months due to injury.