Ospreys bosses are calling on the fans to act as "â¬Ëthe 16th man' this weekend when they face Leicester Tigers in a must-win Heineken Cup crunch match at the Liberty Stadium (Saturday 24th January, KO 5.35pm
Ospreys bosses are calling on the fans to act as '16th man' this weekend when they face Leicester Tigers in a must-win Heineken Cup crunch match at the Liberty Stadium (Saturday 24th January, KO 5.35pm).
With more than 15,000 tickets already sold for the game, a second 20,520 capacity crowd inside a month is anticipated, as the Ospreys look to gain revenge on the Tigers for the 12-6 defeat at Welford Road back in October, and clinch a second successive Heineken Cup Quarter-Final place in the process.
Having witnessed a memorable match-day atmosphere at Perpignan's Stade Aime-Giral last weekend, where the travelling Ospreys fans refused to be silenced by the raucous Perpignan crowd, Managing Director Roger Blyth has sent out a rallying cry to fans, asking them to turn the Liberty Stadium into a similar cauldron of noise on Saturday evening. He said:
"It really was a magnificent atmosphere at the Stade Aime-Giral on Saturday, that made a lasting impression on everyone of the Ospreys travelling party. It will definitely live long in the memory, how so much noise and passion could be generated by a crowd of just over 13,000, and it really was a pleasure to be able to savour the atmosphere.
"The Ospreys supporters present certainly played their part, they were behind the team from the first whistle to the last and certainly made themselves heard amongst the Perpignan supporters songs, whistles and music. That in itself provided a real lift to the team in the closing stages as they rallied so well and came so close to winning it.
"What we really want is to be able to transfer that kind of atmosphere back to the Liberty Stadium this weekend. It is a massive match for the Ospreys, possibly the biggest game we have ever hosted at the Liberty Stadium in terms of what is at stake, and the fans are turning out for it in numbers to produce what should be our highest ever Heineken Cup crowd.
"This game has everything you could ask for. It's a return to the traditional Anglo-Welsh rivalries, and in our short history we've built up quite a rivalry with the Tigers. We'll be looking to get our own back after the game up there a few months back, and most importantly, the prize at the end of eighty minutes is a place in the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup. With a full-house present, it has all the ingredients to be an absolute classic and I'm sure that we'll sense that in the atmosphere on the night.
"It does genuinely make a difference to the players when they hear the supporters getting behind them in the stands, and several of them have commented about how the Ospreys fans in Perpignan gave them a huge lift when they heard them singing over the Perpignan noise last weekend. Having experienced another terrific atmosphere at Welford Road in October, I know that their fans will be present and looking to get behind their team so its important that our fans are up to the challenge this weekend and get behind the Ospreys.
"The supporters have a vital part to play on Saturday, they can be our sixteenth man. We are in this together, players, management and fans alike, and it is up to each of us to make sure we do our jobs this weekend."
Tickets for the match remain on sale at the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office, online at http://www.ospreysrugby.com/ or via the Ticket Hotline on 08700 400 004, with adult prices starting at £16.