Hook and Williams return for Ospreys
January 22, 2010
James Hook returns to the Ospreys' midfield © Getty Images
James Hook and Shane Williams return to the Ospreys' starting line-up as they look to turn over Leicester on Saturday and book their place in the last eight of the Heineken Cup.
The winners at the Liberty Stadium will progress to the quarter-finals along with likely group winners Clermont Auvergne, who have a bonus-point in mind as they face Italian minnows Viadana.
Hook returns at inside-centre, with Dan Biggar retaining the No.10 jersey and Andrew Bishop moving to outside-centre, while Williams replaces Nikki Walker on the wing. Lee Byrne continues his comeback at fullback while the always dangerous Tommy Bowe completes the back-three.
Ryan Jones skippers the side and is joined in the back-row by Jerry Collins and Marty Holah. Jonathan Thomas continues to keep Ian Gough on the bench and partners Alun-Wyn Jones in the second-row.
Leicester boss Richard Cockerill has his side ready for action after a demolition of Viadana last time out, with Jeremy Staunton keeping Aaron Mauger on the bench. Staunton starts at inside-centre as Toby Flood and Ben Youngs continue at halfback. Dan Cole is named at tight-head despite the return of Martin Castrogiovanni, who takes a place on the bench with a fit-again Ben Kay.
"It's a massive game, both sides know they can go through with a win or go out in defeat," Cockerill said. "We are under pressure every week to perform. The difference this week is that if you lose you are out.
"Ospreys have got dangers all over the field, they have individuals that can break you down, so we have to make sure we are on top of our game. We've been playing well, we've had some decent results in recent weeks and we go there knowing what we have to do."
Ospreys: Lee Byrne; Tommy Bowe, Andrew Bishop, James Hook, Shane Williams; Dan Biggar, Ricky Januarie; Paul James, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Alun-Wyn Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Jerry Collins, Marty Holah, Ryan Jones (capt)
Replacements: Huw Bennett, Ryan Bevington, Cai Griffiths, Ian Gough, Filo Tiatia, Jamie Nutbrown, Sonny Parker, Nikki Walker
Leicester Tigers: Scott Hamilton; Johne Murphy, Dan Hipkiss, Jeremy Staunton, Lote Tuqiri; Toby Flood, Ben Youngs; Marcos Ayerza, Mefin Davies, Dan Cole, Louis Deacon (capt), Geoff Parling, Craig Newby, Lewis Moody, Jordan Crane
Replacements George Chuter Boris Stankovich Martin Castrogiovanni Ben Kay Ben Woods James Grindal Aaron Mauger Alesana Tuilagi
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9