"It's going to be a fantastic occasion"

With the countdown to Saturday's Heineken Cup clash with Biarritz now well and truly underway, skipper Ryan Jones has told his team-mates that they must 'go out and enjoy it' at the Estadio Anoeta in San Sebastian.

Speaking to the press during a busy pre-match media session at the region's Llandarcy Academy of Sport HQ, Jones said that with the preparations going well in the build-up to the game, it's essential that the squad are relaxed and enjoy the occasion on Saturday afternoon, rather than allowing it to overawe them.

"Biarritz are a hugely exciting team, they play a great brand of attacking rugby"
he said.

"It's going to be tough, but this is the quarter final of Europe, it's where we set out to be in the summer and it's where we are. It's going to be a fantastic occasion; It's going to be noisy, it's going to be colourful and there'll be a very partisan crowd there, but we've just got to go and enjoy it.

"We've got to put all that to one side. It's all about what happens on that patch of grass that matters, the crowd and everything else that goes on around it is just part of the occasion. We've got a lot of experienced players who've played on the big stage and are used to these environments so it's just about going there, playing, and getting our own house in order.

"We've reached this stage for the last three seasons and we've been disappointed in previous years, but that's been and gone and we want to go one step further. That's what we are aiming for and striving to do, and with a better performance than last time, there's no reason why we can't. We've been here before, it doesn't hold any fears."

So, what will it take for the Ospreys it return from Spain victorious, with a first ever semi-final secured?

"First of all, we've got to be clinical, we can't afford to keep making mistakes. We've got to start well, not give them easy in's, and if we do make a mistake we've got to react positively, not make more mistakes. We've got to make sure we take the territory, take possession and hopefully quieten the crowd a little bit. We'll be looking to get off to a good start, and take that momentum through the game. If we can do that, then we stand a good chance."

The Ospreys have had two Welsh derbies in the build up the big game, with a defeat to the Dragons followed by last Friday's win over the Scarlets, and Ryan believes that two tough workouts have provided excellent preparation, saying:

"The last two weeks have been good for us, they've allowed us to come back to the Ospreys way. The hangover from the Six Nations has gone and the guys have got some game time under their belt as a unit. Against the Scarlets last weekend, I felt that we played some good stuff in patches. The manner in which we won showed maturity and we got the result we deserved in the end. There's a bit of confidence in there, the boys are upbeat, and we are looking forward to this weekend.

"We are as prepared as we could be, we have to make sure we perform on the day now."