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Jones back in Ospreys colours

Jones back in Ospreys colours

Duncan Jones returns to the starting line-up for the first time in six months for the Ospreys, who host the Newport Gwent Dragons at the Liberty Stadium (tonight, 7.05pm kick-off).

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Jones had been sidelined with a foot injury since October before coming off the bench to play the last 20 minutes of the Ospreys’ 32-30 defeat to Edinburgh on Saturday. 

He is one of three changes in Scott Johnson’s team, all of which come in the forwards division. Paul James drops to the bench to accommodate loosehead prop Jones, his Welsh team-mate Alun-Wyn Jones returns in the second row, replacing of Andy Lloyd, and Marty Holah comes in at openside flanker in place of Steve Tandy. 

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The Ospreys will be looking to lift their home support after the Edinburgh defeat all but mathematically ended their chances of catching Munster at the top of the Magners League. 

Coach Sean Holley said: “We owe it to our supporters to go out on a high, so we will be giving it everything to try and give them the performance that they expect. 

“Although we accept it is now unlikely that we will be able to overcome Munster at the top of the table, there is still a lot to play for.” 

Meanwhile, the Dragons are part of a three-way battle to avoid finishing as the lowest-placed Welsh region, meaning they would face a Heineken Cup play-off. 

Paul Turner has made five changes from the team that beat Connacht 27-14 at Rodney Parade on Sunday. Rory Sidey comes in for Ashley Smith at centre, Aled Brew replaces Richard Fussell on the left wing and Shaun Connor starts at outside-half in place of James Arlidge. 

Up front, Steve Jones is at hooker, while Jamie Ringer takes over from Richard Parks at openside flanker. Captain Tom Willis, who drops to the bench to make way for Jones, said: “The play-off is not something we want to discuss much around here. 

“If we take things one step at a time, hopefully Heineken Cup qualification will take care of itself.” 

Both teams have huge injury lists, with Colin Charvis, Kevin Morgan, Marc Stchrebina, James Harris, James Lewis, Duane Goodfield and Sean Tomes absent for the Dragons. 

The Ospreys are without Gavin Henson, Sonny Parker, Jamie Nutbrown and Rhodri Wells, while Jonathan Thomas, Ian Evans, Nikki Walker, Ben Lewis, Lyndon Batemen and Kristian Phillips.

Ospreys: Lee Byrne, Tommy Bowe, James Hook, Andrew Bishop, Shane Williams, Dan Biggar, Mike Phillips; Duncan Jones, Huw Bennett, Adam Jones, Filipo Levi, Alun Wyn Jones, Tom Smith, Marty Holah, Ryan Jones (C).
Replacements: Ed Shervington, Paul James, Ian Gough, Filo Tiatia, Tavis Knoyle, Jonathan Spratt, Gareth Owen.

Dragons: Jason Tovey, Gareth Wyatt, Rhodri Gomer Davies, Rory Sidey, Aled Brew, Shaun Connor, Wayne Evans; Adam Black, Steve Jones, Rhys Thomas, Hoani Macdonald, Luke Charteris (C), Danny Lydiate, Jamie Ringer, Joe Bearman.
Replacements: Tom Willis, Nigel Hall, Hugh Gustafson, Lewis Evans, Andrew Hall, Phillip Dollman, Alex Walker.

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Jones back in Ospreys colours