"It doesn't get much bigger really, does it?"

Shane Williams says that Friday night's visit of the current Aviva Premiership leaders to the Liberty Stadium is up there with the Ospreys biggest ever European nights.


London Irish sit at the top of the English league two points clear of nearest rivals Northampton, with just one defeat in five, and they arrive in Ospreylia on the back of an impressive 23-17 success over Magners League leaders Munster on Saturday night. According to Shane, the Ospreys are well aware of the size of the challenge ahead:

“It doesn’t get much bigger really, does it? We’ve got the in-form team in England, at the Liberty Stadium, in a must win Heineken Cup game. That’s the ultimate test.

“They will be full of confidence after a big win over Munster and will want to cement their place at the top of the group so we know that it is going to be a tough evening. We are starting from behind given that we only picked up a point in Toulon, but there’s a long way to go in this group and a lot of rugby still to be played so there’s everything still to play for.

“We don’t lose many games at home, we’ve not lost here in the Heineken Cup for a few years now, and we want to keep it that way. If we want to progress in the competition then we have to win Friday night, it’s that simple. We need to hit our standard, play as a team and we should get our reward. We’re all looking forward to it, it should be a great occasion, one of our biggest European nights.”

Ospreys fans were loud and proud in Toulon last weekend, with hundreds of travelling supporters making themselves heard throughout the game despite the partisan atmosphere at Stade Mayol, and Shane believes that more of the same will be needed on Friday night:

“Definitely, we need the fans to be with us on Friday, they need to make a noise and really generate an atmosphere. London Irish had more than 20,000 for their game against Munster and their fans played a big part in the win, getting behind their team and really helping to lift them.

“We need our fans to do the same. When the top team in the English league come to town, we all need to work together if we want to succeed. It’s no coincidence when you look at it that the teams that do well in Europe are usually the ones with big crowds and big atmospheres that create something special together on a matchday. We are going to need something similar on Friday.”

Tickets for the game are available to buy from the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office, online here, or via the Ticket Hotline on 08700 400 004, with prices starting from just £1 for children.