Henson starts at full back for New Years Eve clash
30 December 2008 13:01
Ospreys coach Sean Holley wants to end an excellent year for his side on a high - by beating the in-form Cardiff Blues at a sold-out Arms Park. (kick-off 2.05pm)
Holley has selected Gavin Henson at full back for the New Years Eve clash, fully aware that taking down Dai Youngs fired up side will be a tough task in front on their home fans.
The Blues may be languishing close to the bottom of the Magners League table, but Holley knows a Welsh derby will be the perfect opportunity for them to translate fine European form to the domestic stage.
But, after a taking down the Scarlets 20-6 in the season encounter Holley is confident. He said: We go into the final Christmas derby on the back of an excellent result at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, and we face a Blues side that has been playing really well this season. They have a settled side and that has resulted in them enjoying a very productive time of late, with some good performances and notable victories. We enjoy a healthy rivalry and we are well aware that the Arms Park is a difficult place to go and get a result. But, we have gone there and won in the past and, with a full house expected, we are excited about the prospect of another big occasion.
"The next two matches, against the Blues and Munster, are very important games for us, in terms of keeping our momentum going in the Magners League. Our focus is entirely on maintaining a strong challenge at the top of the table before attentions turn to European competition again as we want to ensure that we have it all to play for, in terms of the Magners League, by the time the next crucial phase of the season comes around.
"We have had to manage our squad closely over this busy period and the performance against the Scarlets last time out showed the great character within the squad and the belief in our ability that we have. There were some great individual performances, but most satisfying was the all round team showing in the second half to overpower a very determined opposition. We've only had a few days to prepare for this match, but after a quick turnaround, the 22 selected are entirely focused on the challenge that lies in store and are looking forward to enjoying another derby match in front of a big crowd, with a passionate atmosphere."
Beating Merthyr has boosted Carmarthen Quins hopes of reaching a top eight spot in the Principality Premiership. Quins captain Haydn Pugh is delighted with his team's progress and is determined that everyone from the Under 6s through to the senior team, enjoys the ride.
When the Wales squad were asked to nominate individuals who played a big part in their early playing days, Wales and Dragons full back and wing Hallam Amos thought of his former Monmouth School rugby coach John Bevan.
Sam Cross and Luke Treharne have been named as co-captains of the Wales Sevens side as head coach Gareth Williams names his 12-man squad to play in the first leg of the HSBC World Series in Dubai next weekend.
Bedwas head coach Steve Law and players Nicky Griffiths and Alun Rees extol the virtues of the close knit club as they prepare to host third place RGC 1404 - who are one place head of them on the Principality Premiership points table - on Saturday.
Many of the Wales squad have said Diolch (thank you) to someone who played an important part in their early playing days by nominating them to be invited to the Wales v South Africa match. One person, Gowerton Comprehensive geography teacher Mr Dean Mason was nominated by two of his former pupils, Dan Biggar and Sam Davies.
The second WRU disability rugby pilot has been delivered, this time in Caerphilly schools, culminating in a festival at the Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach tomorrow. Plans are in place to set up a Disability Rugby Club in Newbridge to provide long-term playing opportunities.
WRU TV: Hear from inside the Wales camp as Neil Jenkins discusses this weekend's clash with South Africa and how the squad are looking to put in a strong performance to round of the 2016 Under Armour Series