"Collective effort" needed this weekend says

Although he'll be forced to sit out this weekend's Heineken Cup game against Leicester Tigers at the Liberty Stadium through long-term injury, Ospreys skipper Alun Wyn Jones says he is looking forward to what he calls "a massive day for the region".

The big second row is currently rehabbing after surgery to repair his AC joint (shoulder) and remains on course for a late February/early March return to action. Despite his injury he remains an influential figure in the camp in the build-up to the game as preparations for Sunday step up a notch, and with the Ospreys needing a win to ensure they remain in contention going into the final round of fixtures, Jones says there’s everything to play for this weekend.

“It really is a huge game, as big as it gets really. There’s no room for error as far as we are concerned, we’ve got to get our performance right for the full 80 minutes and the boys have all got to be on the ball, from one to 23, without fail.

“We know it’s going to be physical, Leicester are renowned for their power and we know what we’ve got to expect. That doesn’t make it any easier though, they are a good team with a record in their domestic league and in the Heineken Cup that is the envy of most, and they’ve been on a good run of form over the last few weeks so they’ll be confident coming to the Liberty.

“We’ve got to do our own thing and make sure we prepare for the game properly. We’ve got the results we have ourselves in recent weeks because we’ve played as a team, everyone has known their role, there’s been attention to details and we’ve been a tight group playing for cause. That has to be the same again on Sunday. If we aren’t on the money then we can forget it.”

A veteran of some of the many classic Ospreys v Leicester contests over the last few years, including scoring a try in the EDF Energy Cup Final win at Twickenham in 2008, Jones says this game promises to be as memorable as any in the history of the contest.

“Ospreys v Leicester is always a memorable game” said Jones.

“We seem to have played against each other a lot in our short history, this is the fourth time we’ve been in the same European pool. The games always turn out to be pretty memorable and I don’t see this one being any different.

“Sunday will be a massive day for the region. It’s do or die for us in Europe this weekend, the stakes are that big for us. What you can guarantee is that it’s going to be tense, edgy and physical, and we’ll have to match them across the field.

“Where we can get an edge is on the sidelines. We’ve had some great occasions at the Liberty, including games against Leicester, and the crowd have always played their part. The atmosphere at the Toulouse and Scarlets games were as good as anything we’ve had here and we need the same again, a big crowd and a big atmosphere.

“You can see how much it means to the boys when we’ve got the region supporting us. It really does lift the team when they can hear the crowd getting behind them when it’s getting tough out there and they’ll need the support this weekend. If we are going to go to Treviso next weekend still in the hunt then it’s going to have to be a collective effort from everybody on Sunday.”

Speaking about his own progress and a possible return to action, Jones added:

“Rehab is going well and I’m on track so I’ve just got to put the hard work in now. I’m in good hands with the Ospreys medical and conditioning teams and I know that they’ll look after me. I’m itching to get back involved but when exactly that will be is down to how the next few weeks go.”

Tickets for the game are on sale at the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office, online at www.ospreysrugby.com/buytickets or via the Ticket Hotline on 0844 815 6665.