Pro14: Ospreys v Benetton (Sun)

George North (right) has played 97 internationals for Wales and three test matches for the British and Irish Lions
George North (right) has played 97 internationals for Wales and three test matches for the British and Irish Lions
Venue: St Helen’s, Swansea Date: Sun, 22 Nov Kick-off: 13:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales, the BBC Sport website and app.

Wales wing George North plays for Ospreys against Benetton this Sunday in the Pro14 match in Swansea.

North was not included in the Wales side to face Georgia in Llanelli on Saturday.

He will make his first Ospreys appearance of the 2020-21 season against Benetton.

The British and Irish Lion comes in for Hanno Dirksen, while lock Rhys Davies will make his first Ospreys start after replacing injured Wales second-row Bradley Davies, with scrum-half Reuben Morgan-Williams also returning.

North was sent off in his last appearance for the region, the 20-20 draw with Dragons in August, for a dangerous tackle on Ashton Hewitt.

“He’s been released to play and George just needs game-time, simple as that,” said Wales head coach Wayne Pivac.

“We have had a good discussion over that. I have spoken to Toby Booth (Ospreys head coach) and that’s guaranteed for him.”

Booth said: “It is a long time since George has played for the Ospreys and he is very positive about being here.

“It could be a game that suits him and we want to get him in the match as much as we can.

“He has played two games in five months. George is a good player, you don’t get 100 caps by accident.

“We are delighted to have him back. He has energised the group, shown leadership and we are excited about what he can do out there and I believe in George.”

With Swansea City having two home football games in four days, Ospreys have switched the match against Benetton to St Helen’s from the Liberty Stadium. The Swansea ground is now the training base for the Ospreys due to Covid-19.

The Ospreys’ most recent fixture at the ground was when they faced English Premiership side Harlequins in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2016.

“To win at our spiritual home at St Helen’s is what is on the agenda for us, but there are 15 people on the Benetton side standing in our way,” said Booth.

“We are very clear on what we need to do. If we do that, I am confident we will perform well and give ourselves the best chance.

“We are in the performance business, so we need to perform as best we can every week to get a result. We are also in the results business, everyone will tell you that, and we are here to win and to win now.”

Benetton have not won any of their four league games this season, while Ospreys have won two out of six.

Ospreys: Mat Protheroe; George North, Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, Keiran Williams, Luke Morgan; Stephen Myler, Reuben Morgan-Williams; Gareth Thomas, Ifan Phillips, Tom Botha, Adam Beard, Rhys Davies, Will Griffiths, Dan Lydiate (capt), Gareth Evans.

Replacements: Dewi Lake, Rhodri Jones, Ma’afu Fia, Lloyd Ashley, Olly Cracknell, Sam Cross, Shaun Venter, Josh Thomas.

Benetton: Jayden Howard; Ratuva Tavuyara, Joaquin Riera, Tommaso Benvenuti, Monty Ioane; Ian Keatley, Dewaldt Duvenage (capt); Cherif Traore, Hame Faiva, Tiziano Pasquali, Irne Herbst, Federico Ruzza, Giovanni Pettinelli, Michele Lamaro, Marco Barbini.

Replacements: Tomas Baravalle, Thomas Gallo, Filippo Alongi, Riccardo Favretto, Alberto Sgarbi, Callum Braley, Luca Petrozzi, Leonardo Sarto.

Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU)

Assistant Referees: Aled Evans, Ben Breakspear (both WRU)

TMO: Sean Brickell (WRU).

BBC News