10 years on – The first league title

It’s a special Ospreys #throwbackthursday today as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of our first ever Celtic League title win.

We look back at the momentous occasions with the following extract from ’10 Years of the Ospreys’, Peter Owen’s official history of the region….

On a damp Neath evening, the Ospreys were always in front as they eased their win to victory, Gavin Henson again to the fore as he scored 24 points in a 29-12 win after Jason Spice had grabbed the opening try, taking Steve Tandy’s scoring pass to go over in the corner. Henson scored a second half try after a long floating pass from Adam Jones, before what seemed like the entire crowd spilled onto the pitch at the final whistle to celebrate.

It was a stunning title success, one that no observers had predicted at the start of the season and underlined the enormous potential of the Ospreys.

With a league crown under their belt, an improved showing in Europe, and three capacity 10,280 crowds during the season, the move to a new home on the banks of the River Tawe for the following season couldn’t have been better timed.

Reflecting on the achievement, Lyn Jones said:

“Winning the Celtic League is reward for this side being the best team in the competition. It’s a fantastic feeling, it’s been a lot of hard work and I’m delighted to see so many good players fulfilling their potential.

“Now we can look forward to moving onto bigger and better things.”

Barry Williams wrote his place in the history books as the first Ospreys captain to lift silverware, an achievement he says will live with him forever. Speaking several years later on the region’s website, he said:

“I’ll never, ever forget that night, for me as captain it was a really special moment, lifting the Celtic League trophy was something that will always mean so much to me.

“I remember the team talk in the dressing room before the match, and me telling the guys that we were going to go down in history as the first ever Ospreys team to win anything.

“There’s a picture of me lifting the trophy in front of the team, I remember the exact moment perfectly. I think there were 11,000 supporters at the Gnoll that night and everyone of them was on the pitch with the team as I was presented with the trophy. It was a great experience.

“Being the first captain of the region to lift a trophy is something that no one will ever take away from me. It had been a hard time for everybody involved with the region, but we had belief in what we were doing and the night that we beat Edinburgh to clinch the league title was the moment when the penny dropped as to what we could achieve at the Ospreys.”

The Ospreys team on that historic night:

S Terblanche; R Mustoe, S Parker, G Henson, S Williams; M Jones, J Spice; D Jones, B Williams (capt), A Millward, B Cockbain, J Thomas, R Jones, S Tandy, J Bater.

Replacements: R Hibbard, A Jones, L Bateman, R Pugh, R Rees, E Seveali'I, A Durston.