The Ospreys expose a young player widely tipped for a great future when they face Sale Sharks in the Heineken Champions Cup meeting at AJ Bell Stadium on Sunday (1pm).
Harri Deaves joins Toby Booth’s side for the meeting in the North of England.
The open side flanker showed a glimpse of real quality play for Wales in last year’s U20 Six Nations.
Before entering the tournament, a Welsh-age observer told WalesOnline: “If you see him, with his bright yellow head guard on, he will jump at you.
“You go, ‘Who the hell is that?’
“He’s like a machine.”
Deaves duly came up with a man-of-the-match display against Italy and backed it up against Ireland in the first half before tackling a bump that cost him time on the sidelines. He was then sent off hard in the last game against Scotland.
Facing sale on Heineken Champions Cup debut will be a huge test, especially with English club the Curry brothers in their matchday 23 – Ben starts, with Tom on the bench – but Deaves is adept at peeling off sales and won’t lack of effort.
The Ospreys are making nine staff changes and one position change from the side Racing 92 came out last time, with Booth seemingly planning to give rugby to many of those who will be looking after the fortress while the internationals are away during the Six Nations.
Behind the scrum, Dan Evans, Michael Collins, Josh Thomas and Reuben Morgan-Williams come in as Mat Protheroe moves from fullback to wing and Morgan-Willams makes his 50th appearance from Ospreys.
Nicky Smith, Tom Botha, Lloyd Ashley, Sam Cross and Davies are mentioned in the front.
Tiaan Thomas Wheeler will complete his half-century performance for the Ospreys when he appears on the bench.
Adam Beard is the skipper on the side, which also includes team member from Wales, Dewi Lake, and Ethan Roots, who had his best game for the Ospreys last time, finishing in number 8.
Beard will go head-to-head with South African World Cup winner Lood de Jager, a player he has immense respect for, saying: “He’s a quality player. If you look at his stuff around the set and around the park Look, I like going up against players of his caliber. You want to test yourself against the best and I’m looking forward to fighting him over the weekend.”
Ospreys head coach Toby Booth added: “Sales are big and strong, there are a lot of South African touches, they enjoy the clashes and they attack the bad luck.
“It’s nothing we didn’t know from my time in England, but Sale prides itself on being very efficient at how they play.
“We know we have to be very good at our set-piece and the breakdown.”
Sale Sharks: Hammersley; Thomas Roebuck, Robrt du Preez, JV Rensburg, Aaron Reed, AJ McGinty, Raffi Quirke; Bevan Rodd, Ewan Ashman, Nik Schonert, Jean-Luc du Preez, De Jager, Jono Ross, Ben Curry, Dam du Preez.
Substitutes: Curtis Langdon, Ross Harrison, Coenie Oosthuizen, JP du Preez, Tom Curry, Will Cliff, Sam James, Jack Metcalf.
ospreys : Dan Evans; Matt Protheroe, Michael Collins, Keiran Williams, Luke Morgan; Josh Thomas, Ruben Morgan-Williams; Nicky Smith, Dewi Lake, Tom Botha, Lloyd Ashley, . Adam Beard (capt), Sam Cross, Harri Deaves, Ethan Roots.
substitutions: Elvis Taione, Rhodri Jones, Rhys Henry, Huw Sutton, Morgan Morris, Matthew Aubrey, Tiaan Thomas Wheeler, Joe Hawkins.
Sell Sharks: Simon Hammersley, Tom Roebuck, Robert du Preez, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Arron Reed, AJ Macginty, Raffi Quirke, Bevan Rodd, Ewan Ashman, Nick Schonert, Jean-Luc du Preez, Lood de Jager, Jono Ross (capt), Ben Curry, Daniel du Preez.
substitutions: Curtis Langdon, Ross Harrison, Coenie Oosthuizen, JP du Preez, Tom Curry, Will Cliff, Sam James, Jack Metcalf.
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