The Ospreys Community Rugby team hosted a special launch event at the Liberty Stadium on Monday evening to kick-off the 2012/13 Ospreys Cup, which promises to be the biggest so far.
Players and coaches from clubs across the region were invited along to the launch where they emulated similar launch events attended by senior Ospreys representatives to kick-off both the RaboDirect PRO12 and the Heineken Cup, with the club reps coming under the media spotlight as they took part in interviews and publicity photographs.
The Ospreys Cup is a tournament played out at U16 and U15 level that is unique to the region, with clubs enjoying cross border competition against teams that they wouldn’t normally encounter. Teams from Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea will go head-to-head with everyone offered a chance to play for silverware via a Cup, Plate, Bowl and Shield format beyond the round robin pool stages.
The successful 2011/12 competition saw Pencoed secure the U15 crowd with a 13-10 win over Bonymaen, while Swansea Uplands took the honours at U16 level thanks to a 32-18 success against Abercrave.
Ben Rose, WRU Rugby Development Manager - Ospreys, commented:
“The Ospreys Cup underpins everything that is important in the community, representing your local club and your local club being at the heart of the community. The WRU hope that through this competition players will value where they are from and continue to play into their adult life.
“The competition’s aim is to sustain participation into youth and senior rugby. Across Wales there is a drop-off at these ages and the introduction of this competition has proven to keep the club teams together. In just three years since its inception the Ospreys Cup has established itself as the competition that matters to clubs in the region at U15 and U16 level.
“The highlight for the teams involved in the various finals last season was being invited to the Liberty Stadium to parade their silverware in front of big crowds at an Ospreys match, an experience that will live with them for a long time and make them feel part of the region.
“Off the back of that, we thought it would be wonderful for those involved to allow them to enjoy the same experiences as the likes of Steve Tandy and Alun Wyn Jones, and to be part of a big launch event at the regional home of rugby to get this year’s competition underway.”
Andrew Hore, Ospreys Chief Operations Officer echoed the thoughts of Ben Rose, saying:
“The way that the Ospreys Cup has grown in stature has been fantastic, Ben and his team have worked hard to make it such a great success. Hosting a launch event for the clubs to come together at the Liberty Stadium shows how far the competition has come and acts as a showcase for junior rugby in the region.
“I’m sure that it’s going to be a huge success once again. Building on the visits to the stadium at the end of last season by the Cup, Plate and Bowl winners from each age-grade, who paraded their silverware around the pitch, this launch is a clear indication of the Ospreys’ commitment to the clubs and helps to enhance the Ospreys Cup’s status as the region’s leading cup competition.
“Playing together as a team helps to create mates for life, and we are helping to give these children memories that will last a lifetime.”
The Ospreys Cup gets underway next week with the first games being played at U16 level.
2012/13 Competition Structure
Group A – Waunarlwydd, Mumbles, Glynneath, Kenfig Hill, Fall Bay
Group B – Neath Athletic, Pencoed, Pontarddulais, South Gower, Swansea Uplands
Group C – Dulais Valley, Nantyfyllon, Tonmawr, Aberavon Greenstars, Penclawdd,
Group D – Bryncoch, Cwmavon, Dunvant, Bridgend Sports, Bridgend Athletic, Ystalyfera
Group A – Tondu, South Gower, Abercrave, Pontarddulais, Aberavon Greenstars, Vardre
Group B – Waunarlwydd, Bridgend Athletic, Neath Athletic, Ystradgynlais, Nantyfyllon
Group C – Glynneath, Swansea Uplands, Pencoed, Bridgend Sports, Bonymaen
Group D – Mumbles, Loughor, Bryncethin, Tonmawr, Skewen