Rugby General Manager, Andrew Millward has spoken of the Ospreys’ excitement for the European challenge following today’s Champions Cup draw.
The Ospreys were this afternoon drawn in Pool 2 of the 2015/16 European Rugby Champions Cup against English Premiership side Exeter Chiefs and French Top 14 sides ASM Clermont Auvergne and Bordeaux Begles.
Speaking after the draw, Millward said the region, who had the youngest team in the competition last year, would be looking forward to the challenge ahead, but warned there was no such thing as an easy draw in European rugby’s elite competition.
"We're quite happy with this year's draw as it means some new and different challenges for us in the upcoming season. There are no easy draws in the Champions Cup as all the teams have obviously worked hard to get there but we’ll relish the opportunities it has given us. It's a great tournament and we're really looking forward to taking part in it.
"Obviously when you look at sides in the English Premiership and the French Top 14 you know you will be competing with teams with much larger budgets, with the TV revenues they get giving them more financial pull. All that means for us is that we have to plan ahead and try our best as a team to overcome that difference.
"Year on year the standard in Europe has improved. It becomes a harder competition with each passing season and there are certainly no easy games but we're really excited to get going and really push ourselves this season."
Looking at the teams individually Millward remarked:
"Clermont are not a new team for us to come up against having played them on four previous occasions, and managing to get two wins. However they will be coming into next season after losing in the T14 final against Stade and in the Champions Cup Final against Toulon. That’s a sign of their quality but they won’t settle for that, they’ll want to go one better this year.
"I think we're all excited to face Bordeaux, it's always interesting for us to take on a team we haven't played before. It's a bit of an unknown for us and they're obviously of a high standard else they wouldn't be in the Cup. It'll be great for us, and our supporters, to have the opportunity to play a team we haven't before, to visit a new stadium and get some new experiences under our belt.
"It's also going to be a new challenge for us to take on the Exeter Chiefs in a European competition as we have only ever met them in the LV before. Again they're a strong team who are doing well in the English Premiership and have really built as a club in recent seasons, improving year on year and doing it the right way. They are no pushovers and only missed out on the Premiership play-offs on the final day.
“We know that we’re going to be at our very best right throughout this competition if we are going to get the kind of performance we need, but it is going to be a ride that players, staff and supporters can all enjoy.”
Renewing adults will still pay just £109 (or £170 premium), while junior supporters can pay just £30, or £50 with a brand new 2015/16 jersey, until the end of next month.