As the Ospreys prepare for a busy festive period of rugby, supporters are being urged to get behind their team and play their part on match days at the Liberty Stadium.
- Bordeaux, Dragons and Leinster all visit Liberty Stadium in the next month
- Ospreys currently top of ERCC Pool 2
- Recent good run in PRO12 means that with over half a season still to go the team is now just six points off the ERCC qualification places for next season and just seven behind the play-off places so there's everything to play for
- Millward hails the supporters for "one of the best" atmospheres ever at the Liberty in the recent Exeter match
Bordeaux Begles are the visitors at SA1 on Saturday for a crunch European Rugby Champions Cup clash (5.15pm KO) and then, after the return leg against the French side a week later and the Boxing Day derby at Parc y Scarlets, the Ospreys welcome Newport Gwent Dragons on New Year’s Day and Leinster the following weekend, both in the PRO12.
Those games are followed by the final two rounds of the Champions Cup, with French giants Clermont Auvergne coming to the Liberty before the Ospreys round off their campaign away to Exeter, and Andrew Millward, Rugby General Manager, said that the supporters can have a huge influence over the coming weeks, starting on Saturday.
“The team have put themselves in a strong position in the pool after good performances in the opening two rounds, but now it’s crunch time as these December double headers traditionally shape the way the pool ends up.
“Everybody knows there’s a hell of a lot of work to be done though. It’s a good start but that’s all it is, a start. If we don’t perform at our best over these next two games then nobody will remember Exeter or Clermont, just that we blew it against Bordeaux.
“It’s a young squad of players, they are diligent and working hard day in day out to be the best they can be, and while there is still a lot of room for growth nobody can deny that over the last few weeks we’ve seen some really positive signs on the pitch. That’s not an overnight thing, it’s the result of months, years, of hard work to build a culture and to shape where we are trying to go.
“The supporters who were at the Liberty for the Exeter or Blues games will understand the character of this team. They helped create a great atmosphere, for the Exeter match in particular, one of the best we’ve had at the Liberty. Now we need them to do the same this weekend in what is a crunch game that can help shape our season.”
Beyond this weekend’s fixture, with Welsh derbies ahead in the PRO12, and the visit of Leinster to the Liberty at the start of 2016, Millward said its important that momentum continues to grow, on and off the field:
“Everybody knows that we are all disappointed with the start to the season that we had, albeit with the mitigating circumstances around the World Cup and injuries that have impacted on clubs with bigger budgets and smaller international representation than ourselves.
“It’s been pleasing to see the way that we’ve worked through those problems and, yes, the returning internationals have been a big part of that, but there has been a lot of hard work from the rest of the squad as well. Look at last week’s win in Zebre, we left some senior players at home and on the bench, and put in an impressive performance and secure a bonus point win that keeps us heading in the right direction.
“Despite the start we made, with over half the season still to go we are back with six points of sixth place, seven behind the play-off spots, so although there is a lot of hard work still to do we are back in contention.
“With the Scarlets away then the Dragons and fourth placed Leinster home within the next month, if we can perform to the best of our ability then we can begin to make some real inroads into the table. Given the importance of these two games and the hard work that everybody is doing to get us up that table, it would be fantastic to see big crowds getting behind the team to really rally the boys.
“As we saw against Exeter, the difference the crowd can make is immense when the going gets tough. It’s important that they turn up and do their bit for the cause.”
Tickets for Saturday’s game against Bordeaux, along with the New Year’s Day derby against the Dragons, are on sale now from the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office with prices starting from £20 for adults, £5 for kids. You can buy in person, via the Ticket Hotline on 0844 815 6665 or online 24/7 at www.ospreysrugby.com/buytickets
Alternatively, if you are a regular supporter unable to commit to a season membership who still gets to at least four games in a season, why not sign up to the new Flexi-Ticket package which gives you a discount of up to 25 per cent on matchday admission when you pick four games you want to watch over the season.
Open to all supporters, the Flexi Ticket offers a mid-price way for fans to show their support for the region if they feel that other commitments mean a normal season membership doesn’t offer them full value, with prices starting at just £59 for adults, for four games.
The procedure for purchasing a Flexi Ticket is exactly the same as buying any normal matchday ticket, and they are available now from the usual outlets. The Flexi Ticket covers all regular season, scheduled PRO12 and European Rugby Champions Cup matches.
You don’t need to choose your matches now, as you will be issued four vouchers at the time of purchase which can then be exchanged for the match tickets of your choice, right up until two hours before kick-off.