Jac’s Back . . . And Ospreys Need Him

Wales fans have got used to the sight of Jac Morgan in the thick of the action, but Ospreys supporters could be forgiven for struggling to recall what he looked like.

That’s because Morgan hasn’t been seen in his regional colours since January, but that absence will end this weekend.

The flanker – who played in last season’s Six Nations, got injured, was then whisked off for Wales’ preparations for the World Cup and then rested after the tournament – will make his Ospreys comeback in the Welsh derby against the Dragons at Rodney Parade on Saturday.

Most of the Ospreys’ World Cup contingent have already returned to United Rugby Championship (URC) action but head coach Toby Booth reckons Morgan will have gained from the extra rest.

“Jac will be better for it,” said Booth.

“He just needs to take the time to take a breath to understand what’s happened and reflect on that.

“It is good he has had that extra week and means he can hit the ground running and be the player he knows he wants to be.

“He sets his standards at a level now as an international and Wales captain that he wants to adhere to. We have to create an environment that allows him to do that.”

The Dragons will be without flanker Taine Basham, who has been given a four-game ban following his red card for a dangerous tackle against Leinster last week.

But the Newport club have been boosted by the availability of No.8 Aaron Wainwright who has passed his medical assessments after a blow to the head in the defeat to Leinster.

Dragons coach Dai Flanagan said: “There was no actual HIA (Head Injury Assessment), which is good news for Aaron.

“He is fine, training and available to play if selected.

“He has passed all tests and been cleared by two doctors. There was initially a bit of confusion, but he is available.”

After four games, the Dragons are still looking for their first win of the season and sit one from bottom of the 16-team table.

The Ospreys are in 10th place – the highest of the four Welsh teams – with two victories from their four games, with Cardiff and the Scarlets sandwiched between.

The weekend action starts with Cardiff away in Parma where they take on improving Zebre.

The Italians finally ended a run of 29 consecutive defeats by beating the Sharks and will be keen to take another scalp.

Cardiff head coach Matt Sherratt has made five changes from the team beaten 18-12 at home by the now table-toping Bulls.

As well as the switch at centre, Liam Belcher returns to lead the side at hooker and will have Rhys Carré propping him up on the loose head side of the scrum.

Seb Davies returns to join fellow international Teddy Williams in the second row. Cam Winnett also comes in at full back.

“Zebre had a fantastic win last weekend against a quality side, but if we are honest it has been a long time coming,” said Sherratt.

“They have run a lot of teams close in recent seasons including ourselves with two of our last three games there won by single-score margins.”

The Scarlets face a daunting trip to face Leinster in Dublin on Saturday night, but will hope Ioan Lloyd can underline his growing influence as their new playmaker and No.10.