Ospreys v Scarlets: Teams
At Liberty Stadium, Friday April 2, kick-off 7.05pm
By Rachel Griffiths. Last Updated: 01/04/10 2:57pm
Hibbard: Will start for Ospreys
Ospreys have named Wales hooker Richard Hibbard in a strong starting XV to host the Scarlets in their Magners League derby.
Head coach Sean Holley has included Hibbard in his international-filled side in place of Huw Bennett, who drops to the bench.
Ryan Jones will captain the side from number eight, while versatile forward Jonathan Thomas is included at lock alongside Ian Gough.
Holley has put together a solid line-up as Ospreys look to bounce back from their 28-20 defeat to Newport Gwent Dragons last weekend.
"We're another week down the line now since the players returned from international duty, we've had more time to work together as a group and for the players to get used to the way we do things again, and I'd expect to see improvements in our performance right across the field on Friday," said Holley.
"We were a little bit disjointed last weekend, and that's something we'd anticipated, it's something that experience over the last few seasons tells us will always be a challenge when we get such a large group back after eight or nine weeks elsewhere.
"Are we concerned about it? Well, the last time we sent a full team out to represent the Ospreys was the Leicester Tigers match, and that was possibly the best Ospreys performance you would have seen, so the challenge now is to make sure that we can get to that standard over the next couple of weeks."
Holley is looking forward to the excitement of a derby match, and expects a good atmosphere at the Liberty Stadium.
"The Scarlets derby match is always a special occasion," he added.
"Passions run high, the supporters enjoy the occasion and there is always a good crowd, so we are looking forward to it."
Scarlets head coach Nigel Davies has also named an experienced team for the Liberty Stadium encounter as they look to earn crucial Magners League points.
Lions ace Stephen Jones returns at number 10, while Scottish international Sean Lamont makes a comeback to the right wing after both players were rested for Scarlets' 24-20 loss at Edinburgh.
Rising star Tavis Knoyle starts at scrum-half, with Martin Roberts dropping to the bench, while Matthew Rees replaces Ken Owens at hooker.
Rhys Priestland, who has impressed with the boot in recent weeks, takes the full-back jersey, while Daniel Evans is named as a replacement.
"This is a huge game this weekend, it is a massive game for us and we really need to pick up these points desperately - but equally it's a big game for the Ospreys," said Davies.
"At this moment in time they are 10 points ahead of us but if we can get a result on Friday, they are in the mix with everyone else in terms of battling for this European spot. So it's a massive game for them too."
Ospreys: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 James Hook, 11 Nikki Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Mike Phillips, 1 Paul James, 2 Richard Hibbard, 3 Adam Jones, 4 Ian Gough, 5 Jonathan Thomas, 6 Jerry Collins, 7 Marty Holah, 8 Ryan Jones (capt).
Replacements: 16 Huw Bennett, 17 Craig Mitchell, 18 Alun Wyn Jones, 19 Filo Tiatia, 20 Jamie Nutbrown, 21 Sonny Parker, 22 Shane Williams.
Scarlets: 15 Rhys Priestland, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Regan King, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 1 Iestyn Thomas, 2 Matthew Rees, 3 Deacon Manu, 4 Lou Reed, 5 Dominic Day, 6 Rob McCusker, 7 Richie Pugh 8 David Lyon (capt).
Replacements: 16 Phil John, 17 Ken Owens, 18 Rhys Thomas 19 Damian Welch, 20 Josh Turnbull, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Daniel Evans.