Ospreys v Scarlets - RaboDirect Pro 12 match preview
Last Updated: 26/12/12 4:33pm
Wales international prop Adam Jones returns to the Ospreys' starting line-up for the Boxing Day RaboDirect Pro12 fixture against the Scarlets at the Liberty Stadium.
Jones takes over from Campbell Johnstone in the only change to the XV that started the 17-6 win over Toulouse in the Heineken Cup on December 15.
The Ospreys are sixth in the table, four places below their opponents, but prevailed 23-16 when the teams met in the league at Parc y Scarlets in September.
For the Scarlets this match represents a second Welsh derby in the space of five days, having seen off Cardiff Blues 9-6 at the Arms Park on December 21.
Head coach Simon Easterby has made four changes to his starting XV, two in the backs and two in the forwards.
Aled Davies is handed the start at scrum-half and Kristian Phillips is named on the wing against his former employers.
Wales international Matthew Rees starts at hooker and lock Jake Ball forms the second-row pairing with George Earle.
Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Ross Jones, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i (capt); 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Ryan Jones, 5 James King, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Ryan Bevington
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Cai Griffiths, 19 Lloyd Peers, 20 Morgan Allen, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Tom Isaacs
Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies (capt), 12 Scott Williams, 11 Kristian Phillips, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Aled Davies; 8 Kieran Murphy, 7 Aaron Shingler, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 George Earle, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Phil John
Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Shaun Hopkins, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Sione Timani, 20 Rob McCusker, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Gareth Owen, 23 Gareth Maule
What they said...
Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy
"This game marks the start of a very busy month for the Ospreys and it's crucial that we perform consistently, putting in top level performances in every single game now so that we can push for a top four spot in the PRO12 and the knockouts in Europe.
"With the biggest crowd in two years already confirmed for Boxing Day we know that there's going to be a great atmosphere, which is fantastic. It'll be pretty special, we've got good memories of playing the Scarlets at Christmas at the Liberty and it's up to these boys to make their own history this week. We know that they'll come here confident after winning at the Blues last week, they are a very dangerous team so we will have to be at our best if we are going to send our supporters home with the best Christmas present they could ask for."
Scarlets attack coach Mark Jones
"It's going to be a very intense game and a typically physical match. We don't have to cast our minds back too far to our last encounter with the Ospreys and where in the game we came out second best.
"We know the quality the Ospreys have, they'll come out strong will be feeling confident after an impressive win over Toulouse in Europe. It's going to be a high impact and a big battle up front but the players are in the right mindset and we're looking forward to a great contest."
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