Ospreylians: Your Region Needs You

The Ospreys are calling on fans to act as their 16th man next weekend when they look to get 2007 off to a winning start when French giants Stade Francais visit the Liberty Stadium for a crunch Heineken Cup tie.

The Ospreys are calling on fans to act as their 16th man next weekend when they look to get 2007 off to a winning start when French giants Stade Francais visit the Liberty Stadium for a crunch Heineken Cup tie.

With more than 8,500 tickets already sold for the must win clash, another bumper crowd looks guaranteed as the Ospreys look to continue their incredible home form that saw them lose just once in 19 games at the Liberty Stadium during 2006. A win against the Parisians is a must for the Ospreys following their back-to-back wins against Calvisano last month, as their quest to reach the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time reaches a crucial stage.

Ospreys Managing Director Mike Cuddy is hoping that the Ospreys support will help the players extend their amazing run of form at the Liberty Stadium:

"Our home form throughout 2006 was excellent, with just the one defeat in 19 games, and we have already won 12 out of 12 at the Liberty Stadium this season. This form has established the venue as one of the toughest places in European rugby for a team to come and get a result and hopefully we can carry the form of last year through into 2007 and cement the Liberty Stadium's reputation as a fortress.

Our supporters have been fantastic this season, and once again it looks as though they'll be turning up in their numbers to get behind us for what is the most important match of the season so far. Our fans have shown against Sale Sharks, Australia, and in particular Llanelli Scarlets, what a great atmosphere they can generate and hopefully, they'll create something similar on Sunday afternoon, helping to spur the boys onto another famous victory.

As we go into 2007, we are the only Welsh region still in contention for honours on three fronts. It is a crucial time for the Ospreys and the support of our fans can make a huge difference as we look to put some more silverware in the trophy cabinet."

The Ospreys have already tasted Heineken Cup success against Stade Francais, coming out on top 13-8 in October 2005, and Shane Williams, one of the heroes of that success, is confident that with a big crowd behind them, another win is on the cards:

"It's going to be tough, but our excellent home form has given us real confidence ahead of the game. Stade Francais are a very good side, but they'll come here aware of our outstanding record at the Liberty Stadium, knowing that we beat them here just 14 months ago. After two wins against Calvisano, we've put ourselves in a position where with two games remaining our fate in the Heineken Cup remains very much in our own hands and that is all we can ask for.

We know what we've got to do, and that is win our matches and we'll be in the knock-out stages for the first time. It looks like we'll be backed by a big crowd once again and I'm sure that they'll create a fantastic atmosphere. It really does make a difference when we hear a big Ospreys crowd roaring us on, it's true to say that the fans can make a difference to the outcome of match. With a big crowd acting as a sixteenth man, getting behind us from the first whistle, hopefully, we'll be able to give them something to sing about when they are back in the bar afterwards."

One recent Ospreys recruit looking forward to the game is former New Zealand back-row Filo Tiatia, who says that he has been impressed by the Ospreys support:

"One thing that has stood out since I arrived in Wales is the passionate support that the Ospreys have. We've already had some big crowds and great atmospheres at the Liberty Stadium this season and we've enjoyed some memorable matches, but this one could be the best yet. We've had local pride on the line against the Scarlets and we've had international opposition in the shape of Australia, but the Stade Francais match is the biggest of the season so far, by some way.

All rugby players want to test themselves against the best, and when I signed for the Ospreys I was looking forward to playing Heineken Cup rugby and occasions like this. I've played Super 12 and I've played test rugby for the All Blacks, but I'm looking forward to what I'm sure will be an atmosphere and a game to compare with anything I've experienced."

Tickets for the Stade Francais match are on sale at the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office, via the Ticket Hotline on 08700 400 004, or online at http://www.ospreysrugby.com/.