“Owen brings leadership and experience in midfield, ” said head coach Toby Booth. “Along with Nicky Smith and Michael Collins, he’s been very visible this week, even though he’s just come back, which is great, and the group can take a lot of encouragement from that. ” Wales head coach Gatland will likely be monitoring how Watkin goes as he mulls over how to lift his team after two Six Nations defeats. You can read more here about the players outside the Wales squad who could solve a worrying issue for Gatland. The Ospreys make three changes in all from the side that won 28-24 on the road against Zebre, with Stephen Myler and a fit-again Ethan Roots joining Watkin in the starting XV.
Munster v Ospreys team news as Wales star's return could interest GatlandWales centre Owen Watkin plays his first game in three months when the Ospreys take on Munster in the United Rugby Championship on Friday (7. 35pm). The 26-year-old injured a knee playing in the autumn Test against Georgia and hasn’t featured since. But he starts at Thomond Park in a move that potentially widens Warren Gatland’s midfield options ahead of Wales’ Six Nations game with England on Saturday week. Read more:Wales international in stunning press conference address as he calls for end to 'civil war' in Welsh rugby Tiaan-Thomas Wheeler had arguably his best game for the Ospreys last time out, but Watkin has know-how that could come in handy at a notoriously testing venue for visiting sides.
Jack O’Donoghue captains the team on his return from suspension, Gavin Coombes returns from Ireland camp to start and Simon Zebo makes his first appearance since December. Booth added: “Munster are a tough opposition, but the boys are in good fettle as we had some extra preparation time in the buildup. “Going to Munster is never easy, especially on a Friday night, but we’ve been to Ireland on a Friday night before and come away with the win.
Roots takes over from Harri Deaves, who drops to the bench, albeit with Booth saying the young No. 7 had done well against the Italians, while the coach also gave a nod to No. 8 Morgan Morris, saying his performance levels were “very good”. Hooker Dewi Lake, who had to withdraw from Wales’ squad after picking up a knee injury against Leicester Tigers last month, is on the mend, though the Ospreys don’t have a return date for him yet. “Dewi is doing pretty well, ” said Booth.
“He has a little time to go, but being a young pup he heals quickly, so that’s good. He’s showing some progress. “There’s no date for him yet. ” Dan Lydiate (arm) and Sam Parry (shoulder) are also close to comebacks, while the Ospreys say the latest reports on Gareth Anscombe have been “good” as he continues his long-haul comeback from a shoulder problem. Full-back Iestyn Hopkins will make his Ospreys debut if he appears off the bench against Munster. The Irish team make three changes from the side that defeated Benetton in the province's last outing.
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