The Ospreys will be looking to take a step closer to a third successive EDF Energy Cup semi-final when they entertain Pool C leaders Worcester Warriors at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday (KO 3.05pm).
Worcester, led by former Swansea and Wales coach Mike Ruddock, secured a 22-5 bonus point win over London Irish in their opening fixture earlier this month, while the Ospreys kicked off their defence of the trophy they secured at Twickenham back in April with a
24-23 home win against Harlequins, thanks to a last gasp Tommy Bowe try, converted by James Hook.
With their final Pool fixture the following weekend being a difficult away trip to London Irish, Ospreys full-back Lee Byrne realises that a second home win is vital to their hopes of progressing to the knockout stages. He said:
"Going into this game just behind Worcester because of the bonus point they picked up in the first round of fixtures we realise that we can't afford to make any mistakes and have to make it two wins from two on Sunday. A defeat would put Worcester in the driving seat in the group, with them having a home game against Harlequins to round off the group while we would have to go to London Irish, who could still have everything to play for themselves if they manage to pick up result against Harlequins.
"There is no doubt that we are taking this tournament very seriously, we are proud to be the reigning champions and want to hold on to the trophy this season. Everyone at the Ospreys will always remember what a fantastic day it was at Twickenham last season and speaking as a player, those are the types of day that you want to be involved in, a big crowd, tremendous atmosphere and silverware up for grabs.
Speaking for myself, I would love to be going back to Twickenham for the final later this season and I'm sure that if you ask the rest of the players then they would say the same thing.
"But, we realise that we have to earn the right to enjoy a big day out so we won't be taking anything for granted. There are some great players in the Worcester squad, some top international players and some familiar faces that we all know from the Welsh set-up so it's going to be an interesting him. Having got off to a flier with a great win over London Irish I'm sure that they'll be confident and will be looking at the competition as one where they can enjoy a bit of success so we'll have to be up for a scrap if we want to hold onto our crown."
Sunday marks the final game in the trial of the Ospreys match day bus service, after which a decision will be made on the viability of running the service throughout the rest of the season. Costing between £3.15 and £5.00 per adult return, depending on collection point, with a child return priced just £2.40, the service will depart from Neath at 2.10pm, Gowerton at 1.55pm, Abercrave at 1.30pm, Oystermouth at 1.35pm, Port Talbot at 2.15pm and Pencoed at 1.15pm, with each route picking up at a number of stops. All services depart the Liberty Stadium post-match at 5.20pm. Tickets are available to purchase on a first-come, first-serve basis from the coach driver on the day (space limited to 49 seats). For full details of the scheduled timetable please check out http://ospreysrugby.com/admin/includes/scripts/www.ospreysrugby.com.
Speaking about the service, Ospreys Managing Director Roger Blyth
"We made the decision during pre-season to launch this new service on the back of feedback and comments from supporters, with a view to easing what can be a potential headache for many supporters on a match day, getting to the game itself. We have been providing a convenient, cost effective service running from all corners of Ospreylia, with a view to expanding the offering depending on take- up. After Sunday's game we will be looking at the numbers using the service and making a decision on the long-term viability of the different routes so would encourage anyone who would benefit from the match day bus service to take advantage of it this weekend. We said at the time of launch it was a case of 'use it or lose it', so now is the time for fans to make sure they use it!"
Tickets for the match are now sale at the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office, online at http://ospreysrugby.com/admin/includes/scripts/www.ospreysrugby.com or via the ticket hotline on 08700 400 004, with adult tickets priced from £20 and children just £4.