STEVE Tandy has paid tribute to Adam Jones as the talismanic prop prepares to captain the Ospreys against Zebre at the Liberty Stadium tonight (7.05pm).
The Ospreys have made seven changes from the side which beat the Dragons 14-3 on New Year’s Eve, but Jones will lead the team after keeping his place.
The Wales tight-head takes over as skipper from Kahn Fotuali’i, who is replaced at scrum-half by Rhys Webb, while Matthew Morgan starts at full-back ahead of Richard Fussell.
Five switches in the pack see Jones joined by his namesake Duncan and Scott Baldwin in the front row, while Ian Gough comes in at lock with James King moving from the second row to blindside flanker.
Jonathan Thomas replaces Joe Bearman at No. 8 in the only other change, with the Ospreys naming a strong side as they look to bolster their RaboDirect Pro12 title defence with victory this evening.
Zebre are currently bottom of the table having failed to win so far in their debut season, and a fourth successive win in all competitions for the Ospreys could lift them into second place.
This should be a match where Tandy’s men are targeting a bonus-point triumph and, with Jones leading from the front, their intentions are clear.
“Adam will lead the team tonight,” said Tandy.
“He’s a true Osprey and anyone who has watched him during the Scarlets and Dragons games will understand what it means to him to play for his region.
“He’s got plenty of experience, and has the respect which comes from his achievements with the Ospreys, and he will make a good captain.”
Centre Ashley Beck is ruled out with an ankle sprain which could see him miss the Ospreys’ remaining Heineken Cup pool matches as well as the start of Wales’s Six Nations campaign. The reigning champions are also without openside flanker Justin Tipuric, who is unavailable tonight because of a shoulder injury.