The Ospreys will round off their pre-season preparations with a short trip up the Llynfi Valley to face a regional Premiership Select XV next weekend (Saturday 30th August) at Maesteg RFC.
Coaches Sean Holley and Jonathan Humphreys will take a full strength Ospreys squad to the Old Parish Ground for the match, which will provide them with a final run-out ahead of the Magners League opener away to Connacht the following weekend.
The fixture will form part of a family fun-day at the home of the Swalec West Division One side, and is the second part of a double-header of fixtures, following on from a local derby between the hosts and Bridgend.
The Premiership squad will be selected from the four sides in the Ospreys region that will compete in the Premiership next season, by a panel consisting of the Ospreys coaches and the four individual club coaches. Swansea RFC coach Richard Webster will take charge of the Premiership Select XV, and he will be assisted by Ospreys Skills Coach Gruff Rees, who was Assistant Coach at Neath last season.
Sean Holley commented:
"We are looking forward to making the short trip up to Maesteg for what will be a tough work-out for the squad. Coming just a week ahead of our first competitive match of the season, we'll be taking the match very seriously indeed and will be sending a full squad up for the match and expect all our players to get a run-out at some stage.
It will give us a last chance to run through a few things and to look at the fitness of some players, and it'll be the final opportunity for players to put their hand up for selection against Connacht the following week. It'll be interesting to take a close look at how the Premiership select side perform, and with a number of Ospreys Academy players set to line up against us, it will also be a good benchmark to see how they are developing.
We've had an excellent pre-season, the players have responded well to what we have been trying to do and the changes we have made. There's a real buzz about the place, everybody is excited about our prospects for the season and I'm sure that this buzz will be transferred to Maesteg next Saturday. With a chance to see so many international players in action, as well as the match between Maesteg and Bridgend, I'm sure that there'll be a good crowd and a great atmosphere to welcome us to the Old Parish Ground."
Supporters can purchase their tickets at the gate on match-day. All 2008/09 Ospreys season-ticket holders will benefit from free admission on presentation of their season ticket, whilst admission for non-season ticket holders is just £4 for adults and £2 for 12-16 year-olds, with under-12's going free. Tickets are valid for both matches.
Kick-off for the curtain raiser between Maesteg and Bridgend is 2pm, with the Ospreys V Regional Select XV kicking off at 4pm.
Richard Webster said:
"We're all looking forward to the game, it's a real opportunity for some of the Premiership players to test themselves against quality opposition and to show what good players they are. There's a lot of talent available to us and we'll be taking the game very seriously. Although we're only going to have a couple of training sessions together ahead of the game we're confident of putting on a good display.
I think it's fair to say that games like this are an indication of how the Ospreys are taking a real interest in the Premiership clubs. Since he arrived earlier this year, Andrew Hore has spent a lot of time speaking to us, looking at what we are doing and finding out what talent we have in our ranks, as he wants to look at ways of developing from within which long term is good for news for everyone involved in rugby in the region."
Ospreys Managing Director Mike Cuddy added:
"We're delighted to be able to take this game to Maesteg RFC and hope that there will be a great turn-out for what will, I'm sure, be a memorable afternoon. At the Ospreys we are very aware of our responsibility to rugby in the region, and events like this allow us to give something back to the clubs and communities that make up Ospreylia.
We have already confirmed that we will be scheduling a series of A team fixtures that will take place at clubs across the region this season, but on this occasion a full Ospreys squad will be going to Maesteg to take on a talented squad that represents the best of the four Premiership clubs in the region. It is a fantastic way to round-off pre-season and will hopefully be something that we can repeat in years to come."