Bordeaux-Begles v Ospreys preview: Team news, kick-off time, line-ups, odds and stats for the Champions Cup clash
Adam Ashley-Cooper will make his Bordeaux debut as they take on Ospreys in the European Champions Cup on Saturday: 17:15 kick-off
Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy is boosted by the return of Jeff Hassler to the wing
The Welsh region won narrowly 19-16 when the pair clashed at the Liberty Stadium last week
Australian Rugby World Cup finalist Adam Ashley-Cooper will be making his debut for Bordeaux-Begles when they face Ospreys in the European Champions Cup.
He completed his move to the French club after the tournament and now will finally be making his bow this weekend.
Meanwhile, wing Jeff Hassler, centre Ben John and scrum-half Tom Habberfield come in for Ospreys in the European Cup clash at the Stade Chaban-Delmas. Habberfield replaces Brendan Leonard, whose wife is due to give birth.
Ospreys will be hoping for a change of fortunes when they travel to France for the match up. The Welsh region were 19-16 winners when the teams met in Swansea last Saturday, but they have lost 14 of their 15 away games against French opposition in the Champions Cup. They do however currently lead Pool 2.
The Welsh region are seeking a first away win in Europe since beating Italian side Viadana in 2009.
Ben John starts at outside-centre for the Ospreys after Jonathan Spratt was ruled out with a knee injury and is one of two changes to the starting line-up.
The only other change comes at scrum-half as Tom Habberfield replaces Brendon Leonard. He partners Dan Biggar, who scored all of the Ospreys’ points last weekend.
Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy told BBC Sport: “We said at the start of the campaign that we had to win our home games and see what we can pick up on the road and that’s what it’s been about so far. We’ve now got two away games and just the one at home, so this is where it starts to get particularly tough.”
Bordeaux-Bègles are the only side still with a 100% lineout success rate in this Champions Cup campaign; however they also have the lowest scrum success rate (70%).
The Ospreys have averaged more kicks from hand (30) per game than any other side after three rounds of action.
After their win against Bordeaux-Bègles last weekend, the Welsh Region have the opportunity to win consecutive matches in the Champions Cup for the first time since November 2011.
Alun Wyn Jones tops the lineouts won chart this season so far having claimed 17 of his own side’s throws and one steal from an opposition throw. Bordeaux have conceded more penalties per game (15) than any other side this season.
No side has conceded fewer turnovers per game than Ospreys in 2015/16 (10.3)
Ospreys have not won an away game in the Champions Cup since beating Viadana 62-7 in 2009, since when they have lost 17 of 18 games on the road (D1).
Only George Smith of Wasps (45) has made more tackles than Dan Lydiate this season (41).
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Bordeaux Begles: Adam Ashley-Cooper
Wallaby back Ashley-Cooper will be making his debut and everybody is well aware of what he is capable of
Ospreys: Alun Wyn Jones
Alun Wyn Jones tops the lineouts won chart this season so far having claimed 17 of his own side’s throws and one steal from an opposition throw. Considering this is an area where the hosts are particularly strong, if Jones get his side the edge, they could possible leave France with something.
UBB: 15 Jean-Marcellin Buttin, 14 Metuisela Talebulamaijaina, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Julien Rey, 11 Sofiane Guitoune, 10 Pierre Bernard, 9 Heini Adams, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Matthew Clarkin, 6 Louis Madaule, 5 Berend Botha, 4 Julien Le Devedec, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Clement Maynadier, 1 Jefferson Poirot.
Replacements: 16 Ole Avei, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 19 Jan Andre Marais, 20 Loann Goujon, 21 Yann Lesgourgues, 22 Baptiste Serin, 23 Darly Domvo.
Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Ben John, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tom Habberfield, 8 James King, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Lloyd Ashley, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Rory Thornton, 20 Dan Baker, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Hanno Dirksen.
Date: Saturday, December 19
Venue: Stade Chaban-Delmas
Kick-off: 18:15 local (17:15 GMT)
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Referees: Matthew Carley (England), Peter Allan (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)