The thrilling PRO12 final win in Dublin may have been the undoubted highlight of May 2012, but away from the field it also proved a busy and successful time for the region with more than 50 school and club visits taking place throughout the month.
The end of the season is always a busy time with numerous requests coming in for players to visit end of season presentation events, and this year was no different with clubs the length and breadth of Ospreylia welcoming members of the playing squad in to their environments.
Uncertainty around the end of season date since the introduction of league play-offs add a significant logistical challenge for the Ospreys at this time of the year, but thanks to forward planning and the co-operation of clubs in the region, hundreds of local children got to meet some of their heroes at the end of a championship winning season.
The added issue of the Ospreys being in action on three of the weekends in May, one of which was away to Aironi and then in Dublin for the PRO12 Final itself, created extra logistical obstacles to be overcome but, ultimately, players were able to get out into the local community, acting as ambassadors for the region.
Andrew Hore, Chief Operations Officer at the Ospreys said:
“The end of the season is always a busy period in terms of requests for player visits and this year was no different from any other. The advent of the play-offs means there is always a degree of uncertainty around when our season ends and player availability, but we’ve worked very hard with our member clubs over the last couple of seasons around the timing of their end of season events to ensure we can get representation to as many as possible.
“To be honest, it’s a great problem to have, with our presence in the play-offs for three consecutive seasons. It means that the players are around longer than they would otherwise be but, obviously, it brings unique challenges in terms of making sure young rugby fans in the region aren’t disappointed.
“For example, the Aironi weekend we had 26 players overseas on playing duty, yet still managed to get players out to nine clubs. We understand the importance of supporting our clubs and being at these events. All our players began they rugby careers with their local club as a child, and all of them know the excitement of meeting one of our heroes. This is why we are 100 per cent committed to supporting our clubs at this time of year wherever and however possible.
“Likewise, the clubs are supporting us by getting their requests in early and showing a real understanding of the logistical issues involved on our side. By working together we can all grow stronger. Better links between the clubs and the region can benefit everyone and we hope to see lots of these children, who’ve met players at their club during May, here at the Liberty Stadium supporting their region next season.”