Justin Tipuric: Ospreys flanker set for early post-Lions return v Zebre

Justin Tipuric
Justin Tipuric has made 51 Wales appearances and won a Lions cap against Australia in 2013
Pro14: Ospreys v Zebre
Date: Saturday, September 2 Venue: Liberty Stadium, Swansea Kick-off: 14:30 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on the BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app

Justin Tipuric is set to feature in Ospreys' opening match of the new Pro14 season despite touring with the British and Irish Lions in the summer.

Flanker Tipuric played in five matches during the tour of New Zealand, but did not figure in the Tests.

Ospreys' other Lions - Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Biggar and Rhys Webb - will not appear until mid September or later.

"Tipuric will feature sooner rather than later," said Ospreys backs coach Gruff Rees.

"Maybe this weekend, he's in the mix and doing a lot of good stuff around our training work."

It is customary for players to start their season later after taking part in a Lions tour, but Rees said any decision would take into account Tipuric's quick recovery after the tour which saw the Lions draw the series 1-1 with the All Blacks.

"We'll be looking at his needs. The minutes he had in the summer, the rest he's had already, how he's come back," he added.

"He's someone whose season we could tweak slightly differently, but it could mean he's good to go this week."

Half-backs Biggar and Webb could return in time for the away matches against Treviso (22 September) and Cheetahs (29 September) with Jones expected back possibly a week later when they face reigning champions Scarlets.

Davies on course to face Zebre

Another summer tourist, fly-half Sam Davies, could also feature against Zebre after recovering from a groin strain.

Davies played both Tests for Wales against Tonga and Samoa in June, but has been receiving treatment for the injury which he picked up during the tour.

"Sam has a strong chance of featuring," added Rees.

"He had some groin complication in the summer post tour and we've had to work our way through that but he's done really well in terms of his diligence.

"We're pretty confident we could put him on the park this week and physically as well as mentally he's pretty good to go."

Loose-head prop Paul James will equal Duncan Jones' Ospreys appearance record of 223 matches if he plays against Zebre.

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