Friday 19 January 2018

Starlet Biggar facing huge task

Biarritz v Ospreys, 3.0 (Irish time) Estadio Anoeta, San Sebastian


Much attention will focus on the performance of young Ospreys out-half Dan Biggar. The 20-year-old is talented but relatively unexposed and to steer the Welsh region and its galaxy of stars to victory away to a French side is a big ask.

However, he will be assisted by the return of Lions-capped Mike Philips to the No 9 shirt, who will have a interesting duel with Dimitri Yachvili.

Another interesting showdown will be when Shane Williams comes face-to-face with Eddie O'Sullivan's US Eagles speedster Takudzwa Ngwenya.

Imanol Harinordoquy, who was voted as the player of the Six Nations, will lead Biarritz from No 8 and he identified Tommy Bowe as one of the Ospreys' outstanding players.

"The Welsh internationals, they all know each other and play together very often so that also counts a lot towards the high level of this team, while they have a key Irish player in Tommy Bowe so all in all it doesn't get much better than this in any European club game," he said.

The Ospreys have made one enforced change as Huw Bennett replaces Richard Hibbard at hooker.

The Welsh side are further boosted with the news that director of coaching Scott Johnson will travel after a health scare with the stage set for Swansea outfit to finally realise their potential.

A home semi-final against either Munster or Northampton is a massive carrot for the winner but while the Ospreys are capable of winning here, they have consistently fallen short when it comes to the crunch.

Odds (best available): Biarritz 4/9 Ospreys 5/2

Verdict: Biarritz

Irish Independent

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