Ospreys new signing Tommy Bowe says he is ready to put down a marker on his return to Ireland on Friday evening.
Bowe makes his competitive debut for the Ospreys against Connacht ahead of Welsh star Shane Williams and the Ireland and former Ulster ace wants to make an immediate impact in the Magners League opener in Galway.
Bowe, 24, said: "It's great to go back to Ireland and I'm absolutely delighted to get the nod above Shane. "Connacht won't throw up any surprises for us but it's a horrible place to play. You rarely go to Galway when the sun is shining and get the chance to throw the ball around. It always seems to be the coldest, wettest and windiest day of the year.
"Connacht like those conditions and we know they will try to drag us down into a scrappy match. We're well aware of their gameplan and we must make sure we don't get sucked into that. We just want to put in a strong performance and got off to a good start."
The Ospreys include 11 internationals in their starting line up as well as 19-year-old Rhys Webb following Justin Marshall's move to Montpellier.
And Bowe must wait to link up with Wales Grand Slam winners Gavin Henson, Mike Phillips, Adam Jones and Jonathan Thomas who all miss the trip to the Galway Showgrounds through injury.
Ospreys: L Byrne; N Walker, S Parker, A Bishop, T Bowe, J Hook, R Webb; P James, H Bennett, C Griffiths, I Gough, I Evans, A Lloyd, R Jones (capt), M Holah
Replacements: E Shervington, D Jones, AW Jones, F Tiatia, R Wells, G Owen, S Williams
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.
The WRU officially unveiled the new pitch today in time for Wales to take on Australia in the first of the Dove Men Series autumn international matches this Saturday. Head Groundsman Lee Evans and colleague Craig Campbell reflect on the 15-week project and look ahead to a pitch perfect future at Millennium Stadium.