Ospreys Target An Unbeaten Season At Liberty
By - | 25/04/2007
Following Tuesday night's vital 19-6 win over Llanelli Scarlets at Stradey Park, the Ospreys face their second game in just 72 hours when they entertain Magners League leaders Leinster at the Liberty Stadium on Friday.
Following Tuesday night's vital 19-6 win over Llanelli Scarlets at Stradey Park, the Ospreys face their second game in just 72 hours when they entertain Magners League leaders Leinster at the Liberty Stadium on Friday (Kick Off 7.10pm), in a match which looks set have a huge bearing on the final destination of the championship trophy.
With the Ospreys once again boasting the highest average attendance of the four Welsh regions this season, another bumper crowd is expected at the Liberty Stadium as Lyn Jones' side look to build on Tuesday's result and move a step closer to their second Celtic crown in three years.
As well as seeing the Ospreys move to within one point of their opponents (a bonus point will take them level) with a game in hand, victory against the Irish province will see the Ospreys achieving the remarkable feat of going a whole season without tasting defeat at the Liberty Stadium. A win would extend the Ospreys overall unbeaten run at home to an impressive 17 matches, with their last defeat at home coming way back in May 2006. Tuesday night's demolition job of their local rivals saw the Ospreys smash the Scarlets own unbeaten home record that stretched back to January 2006, virtually ending their title hopes at the same time.
Now, with a little piece of history in sight, Ospreys bosses are urging supporters to get behind the side to ensure the win which will not only see them hit their goal of ensuring the unbeaten home record, but will also put them in the driving seat in the race for the title with just three games to play.
Ospreys Managing Director Roger Blyth commented:
"After Tuesday night's well earned victory we have a quick turnaround ahead of Friday night for what promises to be another momentous battle between two sides with their eyes on the prize of the Magners League title. There are just a few weeks remaining this season and the title race still looks as though it has a few twists and turns left, but victory on Friday night would put either side in as strong position.
Given our incredible home form we will go into the game full of confidence, that can be guaranteed. For any sporting side to complete a full season unbeaten at home truly is a wonderful achievement, whatever the level, but when you look at the quality of teams to have visited Liberty Stadium this season, then you can truly appreciate what our players are on the verge of achieving.
"Leinster will no doubt come here full of confidence themselves. They currently sit at the top of the Magners League and enjoyed a good comeback to win at the Dragons last weekend, so it looks likely to be another memorable Liberty Stadium encounter, in front of another good crowd. Given the levels of support we have enjoyed this season, and the atmosphere our fans have generated time after time, I would expect Friday evening to be something special on and off the field."
Guinness Premiership leaders Gloucester, along with Sale, Bristol, Harlequins and the touring Australians have all tasted defeat at the Liberty Stadium this season. French giants Stade Francais could only manage a draw, whilst the Ospreys have completed a hat-trick of wins against their Welsh rivals as they built up their 16 match unbeaten run, one of the most impressive home records in European rugby. Their incredible form at the Liberty Stadium has seen the Ospreys taste defeat just once since December 2005. That defeat came last May when a last gasp drop goal from Ulster's David Humphreys secured a 19-17 win for the Irish side, and with it, the Magners League title that had previously resided in the Ospreys trophy cabinet.
According to Ospreys skipper Duncan Jones to go a complete season unbeaten at the Liberty Stadium would be a huge achievement:
"When the Liberty Stadium became our new home almost two years ago, we knew that it was a fantastic facility that we would be proud to call home, but in such a short period of time it has become a lot more than just that. Already, we have been able to turn it into something of a fortress and no team enjoys coming to play here. The results we have enjoyed at the Liberty Stadium over the last 18 months back that up.
"We only lost once at home throughout 2006 and go into our final home game against Leinster on Friday unbeaten throughout the whole of this season to date. Just one defeat in 23 matches at home is a record that stands comparison with any side in Europe and we are now desperate to keep that unbeaten record for the whole season. Not only will that in itself be an achievement that we can all be immensely proud of as a group of players, but the reality is that it a win on Friday night will mean that our hopes of a second league title are very much still alive.
"We shook off the disappointment of losing the EDF Final to bounce back and win a tough encounter on Tuesday with an excellent all round team performance. We don't have much recovery time ahead of the Leinster game, but we had a similar turn around time over Christmas and we bounced back from losing away to Cardiff Blues to produce possibly our best performance of the season against the Scarlets at the Liberty Stadium less than 72 hours days later. If we can produce a similar performance on Friday then I'm sure we'll all be happy."
Tickets for the Leinster game are on sale at the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office, via the
Ticket Hotline on 08700 400 004 or online at http://www.ospreysrugby.com/. Tickets will remain on sale right up until kick-off time on Friday evening. Supporters coming to Liberty Stadium on Friday without a ticket are advised to allow plenty of time to ensure they can purchase a ticket and make their way to their seat well ahead of kick-off.