Ospreys bosses have hailed today's replacement of the original Neath-Swansea crest at the entrance to the Liberty Stadium with the familiar mask logo as a landmark occasion for the region.
Five years after the Ospreys were formed as a joint venture between Neath and Swansea, it's a case of out with the old & in with the new, after workmen pulled down the old crest to replace it with a mask measuring 4.9m high by 4.6m wide, which looks down over the reception area and car park at the £27 million venue.
The region has expanded considerably since its formation in 2003, now taking in Bridgend County as well as Neath Port Talbot and Swansea, and the sign change is seen as a way of completing the transformation, with the true, fully regional identity now stamped on the Liberty Stadium wall.
Ospreys Managing Director Roger Blyth said:
"The replacement of the original crest with the mask logo at the entrance to the Liberty Stadium is a landmark occasion for the Ospreys, signifying how far we have come as a regional entity in just five years.
When we formed in 2003, the original crest seemed an appropriate way of signifying the new unity between two age old rivals, incorporating elements of both clubs' badges. Two years later, as an extended region, we made the bold move of dropping the Neath-Swansea from our name, a move that was welcomed by the wider region as a significant and symbolic gesture. Last summer, we went a step further, replacing the original crest on our shirts with the already familiar mask that has always featured on our merchandise and stationery and now, the sign at the Liberty Stadium has been replaced. Our region now covers a far wider area than was originally the case, so it would seem appropriate now that the old Neath-Swansea crest comes down, and our true regional identity can be proudly displayed at the entrance to our home.
At the Ospreys we pride ourselves on our strong regional identity, and we believe that this change will further enhance this. Everybody at the organisation has fully embraced the regional concept, and it is our belief in this that has been central to our success so far as rugby supporters from across the region have been able to buy into the new entity without traditional rivalries rearing their head. The future for the Ospreys looks bright, with the mask at the forefront, as we look to build on the hard work of our first five years and establish the region as one of European rugby's leading sides."