After learning the Heineken Cup schedule for 2012/13 today, Ospreys bosses say that they are looking forward to what promises to be memorable series of fixtures.
The region has been drawn in Pool 2 against European heavyweights Toulouse and Leicester who boast six Heineken Cup crowns between them, along with PRO12 rivals Benetton Treviso, who provide the oppositon at the Liberty Stadium in their first game at the start of October.
After a trip to Leicester the following weekend, the Ospreys face Toulouse in the December double header before finishing off with Leicester at the Liberty Stadium and then a trip to Treviso on the final weekend.
Speaking about the schedule Head Coach, Steve Tandy, said:
“Looking at the fixtures you can’t help but get be excited by what’s in store this season. We’ll be going head to head with two of the great Heineken Cup clubs in Leicester and Toulouse while Treviso will have a huge say in who progresses from Pool 2. There will be six tough games, impossible to predict, everything that the Heineken Cup is about.
“It’s four teams who are each capable of beating each other on their day, so it’s important that we get off to a good start. With almost 9,000 season members already confirmed we’d hope to see a big crowd here for the opening game to help our cause, and to get behind their team. Then with games at the Liberty against two giants in Toulouse and Leicester, I’m sure they’ll be two massive occasions that every rugby fan in the region will want to be at.”
Tandy has considerable European experience as a player, with 25 Heineken Cup appearances for the Ospreys and Neath to his credit with a further two games in the Challenge Cup at Neath, but this will be his first European campaign as Head Coach and he says he’s going to enjoy the experience.
“You have to look at it that way. This is why we’re involved in professional sport, to test yourself against and compete with the best. We have a young group of players and coaches but there is plenty of experience in this group. We are together and we are preparing well for the new season, and seeing these fixtures in black and white you understand what an exciting season is in store for us as coaches, players and supporters.”
His thoughts were echoed by Ospreys Managing Director, Roger Blyth, who said that he is looking forward to seeing big Liberty Stadium crowds for these games:
“It’s a fantastic draw for any rugby supporters, with some of the biggest teams and best players in European rugby history visiting the Liberty Stadium this season. Heineken Cup matches always have a special feel about them and with almost 9,000 memberships issued we know that this season they will be even bigger and better. With almost half the available seats already gone, tickets for these games will be in big demand when they go on sale, with big Liberty Stadium crowds guaranteeing a wonderful occasion suitable for such intriguing matches.”
The Ospreys have played all three opponents in European competition previously.
The have been paired with Leicester on three separate occasions, in 2005/06, 2008/09 and 2009/10, winning two, drawing one and losing three. The Ospreys though are unbeaten in the last three Heineken Cup fixtures between the two teams and have also defeated the Tigers in their last two Anglo-Welsh Cup fixtures.
Toulouse were in the same pool as the Ospreys in our first ever season, 2003/04, with the then defending champions winning twice on their way to another final, which this time they lost to London Wasps.
Benetton Treviso have been drawn twice with the Ospreys previously, with the region unbeaten in four games - although Treviso held the Ospreys to a 26-all draw in Italy last October.
Access to all three home Heineken Cup fixtures is covered by the 2012/13 season membership package, which allow you to watch all 17 home games from just £185, and any paying member can take advantage of our fantastic buy one, get one free offer while children can also come with you to the rugby for free. For full details please visit ospreysrugby.com or call 0844 815 6665 to find out how you can be part of the growing army of Ospreys season members.