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Hook ready to pull on the Ospreys' shirt again.

Byline: Tom Coleman Sports reporter sport@walesonline.co.uk

JAMES Hook could make his first appearance for the Ospreys for six years tomorrow, as the region looks to continue their pre-season preparations with a friendly against Leicester at the Brewery Field in Bridgend tonight (7.30pm).

The Wales back has been named among the substitutes for the contest, leaving him poised for an appearance at the Brewery Field, having completed a move from Gloucester earlier in the summer.

The 32-year-old will be joined on the bench by fellow summer signing Cory Allen, who will be eager to hit the ground running after choosing to call time on his six years at Cardiff Blues in favour of a move west to the Liberty Stadium.

Promising centre Owen Watkin will make his long-awaited return to action after being sidelined with a serious knee injury for the whole of last season.

The former Wales under-20 international will be handed a starting role on Friday night as he takes the first steps towards recapturing the exciting form he showed towards the end of the 2015/16 season.

"We've had a good six or seven weeks of hard work, putting the pillars in place for the new season, and it's good to get into a match week routine now, with the focus switching a little bit to what happens on the 80 minutes at the end of the week," said Ospreys boss Steve Tandy.

"Leicester are enjoying a training camp down here with this game at the centre of it and, like us, will be really excited about looking to put some of the things they've been working on into practice.

"For our part we've got some boys coming back after time out with injury, a lot of exciting youngsters having a run out, and then you look at the bench and a couple of new signings, it's a good mix."

Lions heroes Alun Wyn Jones, Rhys Webb, Dan Biggar and Justin Tipuric will miss out as they continue to rest following the summer tour of New Zealand. Meanwhile, the Tigers are set to welcome back prop Elllis Genge and fly-half George Ford after both players played their part in England's 2-0 series victory in Argentina.

While it is only a pre-season warm-up, this is likely to be an intense contest, with last year's summer meeting ending in a narrow 26-21 win for the Ospreys at the Liberty.

Ospreys: Dan Evans; Tom Williams, Joe Thomas, Owen Watkin, Jay Baker; Luke Price, Tom Habberfield; Paul James, Scott Otten, Dmitri Arhip; Lloyd Ashley, Bradley Davies; James Ratti, Olly Cracknell, Dan Baker. Reps: Ifan Phillips, Rowan Jenkins, Ma'afu Fia, Adam Beard, Josh Cole, Brendon Leonard, Cory Allen, James Hook, Rob McCusker, Will Jones, Matthew Aubrey, Ben John, Phil Jones.

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 11, 2017
Words:461
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