Ospreys bosses today moved to thank the fans for their support in the rearranged Christmas derby clash against the Scarlets.
Originally scheduled for Boxing Day, and with all 20,520 tickets for the match sold, freezing temperatures caused frozen pipes in the North, East and South Stands, and with no running water in any of these areas, the decision to postpone the match was made by the Safety Officer of Swansea Stadium Management Company on the grounds of health and safety.
Having been hastily rearranged for the following day, more than 18,000 fans packed into the Liberty Stadium on Monday afternoon, to help inspire the Ospreys to a record derby win against their local rivals. Elite Performance Director, Andrew Hore, paid tribute to the supporters after the match, saying:
“It was a tremendous effort from all our supporters. To get almost a full house for the game after it was rearranged at such short notice was first class, and they really helped the team to victory.
“We are starting to build some momentum on and off the field, and to have such a big crowd here today really made a huge difference. We need to keep this rolling into the new year and ensure we have big, passionate crowds for the games that will shape our season, starting with Toulon on January 22nd in the Heineken Cup.
"If we truly want to become the region that we want to be, then we need crowds as big and as passionate as they were on Monday, week in, week out."
Managing Director, Roger Blyth, echoed Hore’s thoughts:
“In terms of the crowd on Monday afternoon, numbers and atmosphere wise, you have to say it’s ten out of ten. When games are postponed, it’s always difficult to find a suitable date to replay it, particularly now with the Italian teams in the Magners League meaning that we are already playing right through the international breaks.
“By arranging it so swiftly for the Bank Holiday, with many people still off work, it ensured that as many people as possible were able to attend the game, and the fact that almost a capacity crowd attended suggests it was the right move. Those that were able to attend helped to make it a fantastic and memorable occasion, and we are grateful to them all for that. Thankfully, the players were able to reward them for their efforts. It’s unfortunate that the bad weather has had an impact over the last two weekends when we had big games and high ticket sales, but the problems certainly didn’t dampen the enthusiasm shown by our fans at both games, which was first class.
“We can understand the frustration of those who were unable to make it and we will be discussing the issues surrounding the postponement as a board of directors over the next few days, but we feel that it’s only fair to recognise the tremendous support that was able to attend and to ask for more of the same moving forward.”
Skipper Alun Wyn Jones also urged for more of the same between now and the end of the season, revealing that the players want the ‘Blackout’ theme from the Munster game to become a regular thing at the Liberty Stadium:
“We’ve had two great wins here on the bounce, with two big crowds, and the atmosphere has been fantastic. We are building momentum on and off the field, and it’s important that we continue growing as an organisation. We’ve got another potentially massive game here next month against Toulon and we will need the fans to make another huge effort. As a group of players we really believe in the ‘Blackout’ and we’d love to see the place packed out again, full of Ospreys fans in black. The signal that will send out will be huge, and you can play a massive part in our team effort.”