Although they are away on international duty through November and will miss Friday's LV= Cup game against Leicester Tigers, members of the Ospreys' Wales squad contingent are backing the decision to take the game to Bridgend.
The Ospreys will play their first ever competitive fixture at the Riverside Hardware Brewery Field, home of Bridgend RFC, when the reigning English champions travel to Ospreylia on Friday night (KO 7.45pm), and with excitement in the town growing as game night approaches, members of the region’s international contingent have taken time out from preparations for Saturday’s South Africa test match at the Millennium Stadium to voice their support for the switch.
Ospreys skipper, Alun Wyn Jones, said:
“I think it’s fantastic that the Ospreys are playing at Bridgend RFC and I’m sure it’s going to be a great night. Bridgend is a massive part of the region, and traditionally, the area has always produced quality rugby players. A large part of our squad come from the county and I know that the boys involved in the game this weekend are really looking forward to playing at the Brewery Field.
“It’s important that rugby fans in Bridgend feel part of Ospreylia, and I’m sure taking games there will help with that. I’ve no doubt that there’ll be a good crowd packed in there to welcome Leicester and to show their support for the Bridgend boys in the squad, creating a fantastic atmosphere. It should be pretty memorable.”
His fellow forward, Ryan Jones, represented Bridgend in his early days as a professional rugby player, turning out at the Riverside Hardware Brewery Field on many occasions, and he says it’s great to see first class rugby back in the town:
“I’ve obviously got a lot of affection for Bridgend having played for the club, and I wish I was part of the team going there on Friday night. It’s a great ground, perfect for nights like this. Make no mistake about it, it’s going to be pretty special.
“We’ve got a lot of support in the Bridgend area, I know that off the field we’ve worked hard to make them feel Ospreylian and by taking the game there it can only make the ties stronger. I think it’s great that Bridgend is getting first class rugby back, and I’m certain that the local rugby public will make sure that the boys get a fantastic welcome. Hopefully it’ll go down so well that we’ll get the chance to play there again.”
Fullback Lee Byrne was born and bred in Bridgend, starting his playing career at Tondu, and he says he’d love to get the chance to play for the Ospreys in his hometown:
“It would be unbelievable” he said.
“I never thought that I’d see regional rugby back at the Brewery Field, but it’s fair to say that now that it is, I’d love to be able to play for the Ospreys there in front of my friends and family. Bridgend is such a passionate rugby area that I know it’s going to be fantastic success. I know that the local boys in the squad are really looking forward to it, it’ll be a rare opportunity for them to wear the Ospreys shirt in their home town, which will be something for them to be really proud of.
“We won’t be able to attend because of our game on Saturday but we’ll all be watching in our hotel, and we’ll all be cheering the Ospreys on.”
Tickets for the game are currently on sale at the Riverside Hardware Brewery Field and at the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office, online at www.ospreysrugby.com, and via the Ticket Hotline on 08700 400 004.