Belfast Telegraph

The return of leader Jones will inspire Ospreys, says coach Tandy

 

By Ruaidhri O'connor

There was a time when welcoming Paul O'Connell back from injury would give the Munster dressing room a mindset-altering lift, and the Ospreys are hoping for something similar when Alun-Wyn Jones returns for their Guinness PRO12 semi-final at Thomond Park tomorrow.

The Wales captain's injury has left a void in the Swansea-based region's leadership corps in recent weeks as they closed out their regular-season campaign in less than impressive style.

They finished fourth despite a heavy final-day defeat to the Scarlets, but welcome Jones back just at the right time.

And head coach Steve Tandy is hoping the man who led the Lions to their third-Test win in Australia four years ago can hit the ground running and inspire those around him tomorrow.

"He is the hub of what we do as Ospreys," he said. "He is desperate to represent the Ospreys shirt and that is the mark of the man.

"Even when injured, he is around training, offering his services. He's just a colossus of a man. He's the total package.

"He is a natural leader and everyone will follow him. Having played with him and coached him, I feel he's an exceptional captain. We can't wait to get him back in our environment."

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