With pundits already queuing up to describe it as the clichéd 'pool of death', Ospreys Head Coach Steve Tandy insists that he's 'excited about the challenge of going up against some of Europe's best teams'.
The region found out their Heineken Cup opponents on Tuesday morning when they were drawn in Pool 2 alongside French T14 winners and four times European champions Toulouse, double Heineken Cup winners and old foes Leicester Tigers, and the small matter of PRO12 rivals Benetton Treviso, and Tandy can’t wait for the action to get underway.
“There are six European titles between the teams in our group which says all you need to know” he said.
“I’m really excited about the challenge of going up against some of Europe’s best teams. It’s exciting for the coaches, the players and the supporters. It’s going to be a massive challenge but what we can guarantee is that we’ll work hard to ensure that we make everybody really proud.
“Something that we’ve been saying a lot this season is that we want it to be all about us, we want to be focused and we have to get our performance spot on. If we control the areas that we have an influence on then anything can happen. They say that if you want to win Europe then you’ve got to beat the best, well we’ll have to beat the best just to get out of our pool!
“Toulouse are a great club and are always tough opponents. They have big names in their squad with a strong overseas influence and they are always competitive in Europe. As the new French champions we know this current squad is as strong as ever.
“Leicester are familiar opponents for us, we’ve been up against them in Europe a few times now so we know what to expect. They are renowned for their physical ability, something that we pride ourselves on, and our games against them are always tough, tight matches.
“I think Treviso could hold the key to this group. They are a team that will be under-rated by those outside of the PRO12 and I can see them causing some upsets like they do every year. People on the outside will focus on the games against Toulouse and Leicester but we know about Treviso’s threat.
“Everybody can beat everybody so it’s an exciting group. We know that we’re going to have to be at our best every game to have a chance of progressing. It’s going to be about winning our home games and then it’s essential that we pick up something on the road. The Liberty is going to be a great place on European days this season with so many season tickets sold and big crowds guaranteed. We can’t wait.”
All Heineken Cup pool fixtures are covered by season memberships, with prices starting at just £185 for adults, with up to four kids going free in standard areas and the BoGoF offer remaining in place until the start of the season (T&Cs apply). An Ospreys record of more than 8,000 memberships have already been issued for 2012/13.
For more information on season memberships please visit http://www.ospreysrugby.com/ticketing/news or call the Ticket Hotline on 0844 815 6665.
2012/13 Heineken Cup Dates
Round 1 12/13/14 October 2012
Round 2 19/20/21 October 2012
Round 3 7/8/9 December 2012
Round 4 14/15/16 December 2012
Round 5 11/12/13 January 2013
Round 6 18/19/20 January 2013
Quarter-finals 5/6/7 April 2013
Semi-finals 26/27/28 April 2013
Dublin 2013 European club rugby finals
Amlin Challenge Cup final - RDS, Friday, 17 May 2013 (8.00pm)
Heineken Cup final - Aviva Stadium, Saturday, 18 May 2013 (5.00pm)