Justin Tipuric: Ospreys coach Brad Davis says flanker deserves Wales start

Justin Tipuric
Justin Tipuric has won 43 caps for Wales since making his debut in 2011

Ospreys defence coach Brad Davis says Justin Tipuric is one of the best flankers he has ever worked with.

Tipuric, 27, is set to start in Wales' opening game of their autumn internationals against Australia on Saturday with captain Sam Warburton absent as he recovers from injury.

"I really hope he starts," the former Bath and Castleford Tigers coach said.

"The way he links the forwards and back together, his handling of the ball and his link play is second to none."

Former Australian rugby league player Davis worked with world class flankers such as Francois Louw and James Haskell in previous coaching roles with Bath and Wasps.

Wales will name their side for Saturday's game against the Wallabies on Thursday having already confirmed openside flanker Warburton will not feature.

Warburton has been released back to Cardiff Blues after suffering a neck injury having previously been sidelined with a fractured cheekbone.

Davis has worked alongside Tipuric since joining Ospreys as defence coach ahead of the the current 2016-17 season.

Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric
Sam Warburton has played at blindside to accommodate Justin Tipuric at No 7

"I watched him from afar and I've been able to work with him close up," Davis added.

"He's one of the best sevens I've worked with in terms of his diligence to the game, his defensive work, the way he leads the team around the park."

Ospreys will be without Tipuric when they travel to Munster on the back of a win over Newport Gwent Dragons which saw them go joint top of the Pro12 table.

Teenage wing Keelan Giles will be available after Wales training, but prop Dmitri Arhip faces a Pro12 disciplinary panel after his yellow card for an illegal fend-off against Newport Gwent Dragons.

Friday's game in Cork will be the first meeting between a Welsh region and Munster since the death of the Irish side's coach Anthony Foley.

Foley, 42, died in Paris after a heart condition caused fluid to build up in his lungs and Davis expects an emotional evening in the first game to be played at Musgrave Park since his death.

"Obviously they've had a really difficult time," Davis added.

"Any game playing Munster is difficult at the best of times but I think there is a fair deal of emotion surrounding the first game back in Cork for the team.

"It's going to be one of the biggest challenges we've faced so far taking into account we're contributing a huge amount of players to the Welsh test match internationals.

"I also think it will be a really exciting challenge for our young players to experience this kind of atmosphere away from home against a side that is physical and direct."