Ospreys fever is taking hold in south-west Wales with thousands of rugby fans preparing to head east up the M4 over the next nine days as the region gears up for the biggest week in its short history.
Lyn Jones' squad travel to Watford at the weekend for their first ever Heineken Cup Quarter-Final tie against Saracens at Vicarage Road (Sunday 6th April KO 12.30pm), where they will be backed by 4,500 supporters after the region sold its entire allocation for the match which has attracted a capacity crowd of 18,214.
Hot on the heels of the Saracens clash, the Ospreys will head back up the M4 the following Saturday for a second consecutive EDF Energy Cup Final at Twickenham (Saturday 12th April, KO 2.30pm), where Ryan Jones and co. will be gunning for revenge against a Leicester Tigers side who broke Ospreys hearts in last year's enthralling final, coming out on top 41-35.
With more than a week to go until the day of the final, the Ospreys are well on their way to surpassing last years total number of tickets sold through the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office. Sales broke through the 5,000 barrier on Wednesday evening compared to a total of just over 7,500 sold by the Ospreys last year, leaving the region well placed to break their overall target of surpassing last years total of 12,000 supporters when ticket sales through the RFU Ticket Office at Twickenham or their official ticket agency Ticketmaster is factored in.
As with last year, the Ospreys are operating a subsidised bus service to Twickenham, and have already filled 35 coaches for the EDF Energy Cup Final, with that number expected to rise significantly.
According to Ospreys Managing Director Mike Cuddy, everybody at the region has been delighted by the response:
"These are exciting times to be an Ospreys supporter, with so many big matches coming thick and fast, but the downside of that is it can also prove to be an expensive time, so it's fair to say that we are delighted by the fantastic response once again from our supporters.
To completely sell out our allocation for Sunday's match is tremendous, and it will be great for the team to run out at Vicarage Road and see that a quarter of the crowd have travelled up from Ospreylia, I'm sure that it will give them all a tremendous lift.
"With all the media focus being on the Heineken Cup clash this weekend, there was obviously a possibility that ticket sales for our trip to Twickenham may suffer but we're delighted that this hasn't been the case, and with more than a week to go until the EDF Energy Cup Final, we are well on the way to beating last year's total. We realise that being an Ospreys fan is proving to be a costly hobby at the moment, but I'm sure that our fans won't mind if we keep on winning, even if it means even more trips to plan.
"We have always said that we want to establish ourselves as one of Europe's leading sides, and although there is a long way to go yet this season, I would like to think that we have certainly put ourselves firmly on the map over the last few months. What we need to do now is keep the momentum going, on and off the field, and on that score, our fans have as important a role to play as anyone who will take to the field in an Ospreys shirt in the coming weeks.
"This is what top flight rugby is all about, we want to be involved in the big end of season games and I'm sure that every single Ospreys fan will agree with me that we want to be enjoying the thrills and spills of the latter stages of the cup competitions."
Tickets for the EDF Energy Cup Final are on sale at the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office, with prices starting at £20 for adults, with children's tickets costing £10 in any area. They can also be bought over the ticket hotline by calling 08700 400 004. They can book a seat on one of the coaches via the same sources, departing from venues right across south Wales, for just £10.