A two-mile coach convoy along the M4 is set to provide a spectacular sight on Sunday morning as Ospreys fans make their mass exodus to Twickenham. More than 10,000 are expected to cheer on James Hook and co. as they face Leicester Tigers in the EDF Final
A two-mile coach convoy along the M4 is set to provide a spectacular sight on Sunday morning as Ospreys fans make their mass exodus to Twickenham. More than 10,000 are expected to cheer on James Hook and co. as they face Leicester Tigers in the EDF Energy Cup Final.
Tickets went off sale at the Liberty Stadium at 6pm on Wednesday, with in excess of 7,500 sold and 76 coaches filled, whilst it is understood that several thousand have purchased their tickets either directly through the RFU Ticket Office at Twickenham or their official ticket agency Ticketmaster.
The Ospreys convoy will set off from West Wales at 7.00am on Sunday morning from Pont Abraham Services at Junction 49 on the M4 and will snake its way towards HQ via a series of pit stops at Swansea, Neath, Bridgend and Cardiff. Such has been the demand for the subsidised bus service that the Ospreys have been forced to turn to coach companies across the Severn Bridge after taking up every available coach in south Wales, with a number of coaches from the Bristol area being utilised.
Ospreys Managing Director Roger Blyth commented:
"Tickets went off sale here at the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday, completing the first part of what is a major logistical challenge for everyone at the Ospreys. We are overwhelmed by the magnificent response from our supporters, to the subsidised bus offer in particular. It has been a real challenge to ensure as many of our supporters can get to Twickenham as possible, and to have filled so many coaches is a fantastic achievement. Sunday will be the second part of the operation but we are confident that with the cooperation of our supporters, everything will run smoothly.
"Supporters have also been taking advantage of our discounted shirt and merchandise offer for match ticket holders so we are anticipating that Twickenham will be turning black and white on Sunday. We are still receiving calls and enquiries from fans without tickets, and we are advising them that they are still available to buy via the RFU and Ticketmaster, so just because you don't have one at the moment it doesn't mean you will have to miss out."
Ospreys star James Hook said that he is looking forward to playing at Twickenham for the first time:
"Sunday will be yet another landmark occasion for myself personally and for the Ospreys as a whole. It's incredible to think that just a year ago, I was playing Premiership rugby and my main aim for this season was to try and establish myself at the Ospreys and hopefully get some game time under my belt. Now, here I am, heading to Twickenham for a major cup final against the twice European Champions, really, I have to pinch myself at times to make sure I'm not dreaming.
"Our supporters have been fantastic all season long, and in particular, they made a huge contribution to our success in the semi-final at the Millennium Stadium against Cardiff Blues. All the lads are looking forward to getting out there and getting stuck into the task which is to bring the silverware back to Wales, and we're sure to get a huge boost from the sight and sound of the Ospreys fans in full voice."
Roger Blyth added:
"It has been a memorable season for us so far, with a magnificent first ever win by a Welsh region against a touring national side when we hosted Australia at the Liberty Stadium, and there have been some fantastic matches and performances in all occasions, not least the victory of Cardiff Blues to book our place at Twickenham this weekend. As the season reaches the business end though, things look even more exciting and Sunday's game is the first in a run of fixtures that could see us turn the 2006/07 campaign from a memorable one to a magnificent one.
"With all that has been going on in the news about rugby off the field over the last few weeks, an Ospreys win at Twickenham in front of so many of our supporters can give Welsh rugby a huge shot in the arm."
Confidence is high amongst the supporters preparing for their early morning departure on Sunday. Nigel Screen of Swansea is one who is making the trip:
"Like all Ospreylians I'm eagerly awaiting Sunday's match which I think will be a cracker. We've been on a great run lately and wins against the likes of Sale, Llanelli Scarlets and Munster have shown that we needn't fear anyone. I've been fortunate to travel to Twickenham on five separate occasions to see Wales play the old enemy but we've never come close to getting a victory. I think all that will change on the weekend as I can only see one winner and that will be Lyn Jones' boys in black and white."
Beth Beynon will be attending the match with her regular gang of season-ticket holders. She commented:
"We've got the tickets, we've got the shirts, we've got the flags and we're booked on Bus 25 and are ready to go. The Ospreys have shown over the last three or four years that we are leading the way in regional rugby on and off the field, and to be the first Welsh side to bring home the EDF Energy Cup will be another huge feather in our cap. With us doing so well in the Magners League at the moment with some big games coming up to go with with our trip to Twickenham these really are exciting times to be an Ospreys supporter.
"I'm sure that Twickenham will be treated to the full range of traditional Welsh hymns and arias on Sunday afternoon, especially when we are celebrating a win, when I think that "Ole, Ole, Ospreys" might be the most popular song in west London."
Any fans still without a ticket intending to make the trip can still purchase theirs at http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/ 0870 902 0000 or via the RFU Ticket Office on 0870 143 1111.
Travel Details For Supporters
COACH SERVICE: Starting points will be as follows, with ANTICIPATED departure times
> Pont Abraham Services (J49 M4) - 7:00am
> Liberty Stadium, Swansea (Off J45, M4) - 7:30am
> Milland Road Car Park, Neath - 7:45am
> Sarn Services, Bridgend (M4) - 8:15am
> Cowbridge, Behind Town Hall - 8:15am
> Cardiff West Services (J33) - 8:45am
- Only supporters who have pre booked will be allowed on the coaches
- Anticipated departure from Twickenham after the match will be 5:30 - 6:00pm.
- NOTE: ALCOHOL - we apologise, but there will be absolutely NO alcohol allowed on buses (due to strict regulations).
- There will be one definite stop on route at the Leigh Delamare services for 45 minutes.
- Every coach will be fitted with onboard toilets and there will also be onboard entertainment with DVD & televisions.
TRAIN / LONDON UNDERGROUND: The nearest train station is Twickenham which is a short walk from the stadium. Turn right out of the station and then down Whitton Road. Regular trains run to Twickenham from London Waterloo, Clapham Junction, Reading, Ascot and Windsor & Eton Riverside. Other stations near to the stadium are Whitton, St Margarets and Hounslow. The nearest underground stations are Richmond (also mainline and Silverlink Metro - West North East London link) on the District Line and Hounslow East Piccadilly Line.
RFU SHUTTLE BUS SERVICE: There is a regular event day shuttle bus service between Richmond Station and the stadium. This is 50p for a journey before the event (Richmond to Twickenham) and FREE after the event (Twickenham Stadium to Richmond). After the event the service also runs to Hounslow East Piccadilly Line. For more information you can visit the London United Bus website at www.lonutd.co.uk
BUS: The buses 281, 267 and H22 both have regular services which pass close to the stadium and on major event days the Twickenham FREE shuttle bus service runs to and from Richmond. Alternatively, take the R68, R70, 290 or 490 to Twickenham town centre - the stadium is a 10 to 15 minutes walk.
ROAD: Twickenham Stadium is on the northern side of the A316 into London. From M25, exit at J12 onto M3. This becomes the A316, and Twickenham Stadium is off the Whitton Road roundabout next to the Lexus / Toyota car dealership. From London, turn right off the A316 at Whitton Road roundabout. Please arrive early to avoid congestion and temporary road closures prior to the event.
CAR PARKING:- Parking at or around Twickenham Stadium on matchdays is very limited. Many of the roads are for resident permit holders only and any unauthorised vehicles will be towed away. On-site car parking is extremely limited and must be booked in advance. The recommended off-site car park is called Rosebine Avenue and is next to the Harlequins Ground on the A316. This is about an 8-minute walk to the stadium and is by far the easiest car park to get out of at the end of an event.
TWICKENHAM EVENT DAY CONTROLLED PARKING ZONE: #The Twickenham Event Day Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) is operated by the London Boroughs of Richmond upon Thames and Hounslow. ##The Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) is aimed at controlling parking around the Twickenham Stadium on event days. The zone is particularly aimed at providing parking for local residents and their visitors and to dissuade those attending the stadium from parking in local streets. ##On event days warning signs will be displayed and all restrictions within the CPZ are enforced and Penalty Charge Notices will be issued to illegally parked vehicles. ##The restrictions include yellow lines and permit-only bays
BICYCLES & MOTORBIKES: Free parking facilities are available in the stadium's North and West car park.