Ryan predicts fireworks as Ospreys fly to Kingsholm

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The Independent Online

Gloucester's head coach Dean Ryan has predicted a "firecracker" of a match when the Ospreys visit Kingsholm in the Heineken Cup tonight.

The winners will be in pole position to qualify from Pool Two, both teams having won their opening games. The Cherry and Whites beat Ulster 32-14 at Ravenhill last Friday and the Welsh side edged to a nervy 22-15 win over Bourgoin at the Liberty Stadium a day later.

Ryan said: "This week will be an enormous challenge. They have some great players and the group will be alive well beyond Friday. We'll deal with this game and then see where we are, but we need 16,000 people screaming us on because games are won and lost on small margins.

"We'll need a bit of luck and we'll need to play well – we cannot just throw flair at a game like this. We need to understand what they are trying to do and be intense about what we do. Every minute matters."

Alex Brown has been ruled out of the match due to a shoulder injury suffered at Ravenhill so the Italy captain, Marco Bortolami, comes into the second row. Another lock, Will James, takes his place on the bench.

The Ospreys prop Duncan Jones is relishing the prospect of taking on Gloucester in their own back yard. "As a squad there is a buzz and excitement about it," he said. "Kingsholm is a great place to play and we have a great travelling support behind us and it is the sort of game that any player will look forward to."

A crowd of up to 10,000 turned out yesterday to say farewell to the former Llanelli, Wales and British and Irish Lions centre Ray Gravell in a service which was akin to a state funeral.

Stradey Park, the scene of many of Gravell's most memorable sporting moments, played host for a final time to its most famous son. The home of the Llanelli Scarlets regional side was a fitting backdrop to an hour-long memorial service, which was witnessed by thousands more across Wales on television.

Gravell's death, at the age of 56 while on a family holiday in Spain, followed surgery earlier this year when part of his leg was amputated after complications with diabetes.

The funeral cortège arrived at Stradey Park just before 1pm and Gravell's former team-mates Delme Thomas, Derek Quinnell, and Gareth Jenkins, and the current Scarlets Simon Easterby, Stephen Jones and Dwayne Peel bore his coffin to the centre of the stadium's pitch.

Watched by Gravell's wife, Mari, and daughters Manon and Gwenan, tributes were given in both Welsh and English by the Wales First Minister, Rhodri Morgan, and a number of Gravell's friends and colleagues.