The Heineken Cup returns this weekend, when the Ospreys travel to the Cote d'Azur in southern France before Aviva Premiership leaders, London Irish, visit the Liberty Stadium on Friday 15th October (KO 8.00pm).
The scene is set for another nailbiting series of games, with Munster also drawn in the same pool and facing the Ospreys in a December double-header, and Managing Director Roger Blyth says that everybody involved with the region is looking forward to the competition getting underway:
“There’s no doubt that there’s a real buzz about the place, the anticipation ahead of the first game in the Heineken Cup is the same every season and it’s no different this year.
“We’ve got a tough pool, there’s no getting away from that, with Munster one of the Heineken Cup’s most successful teams ever, London Irish top of the Premiership at the moment and Toulon doing really well in the T14 with a squad of the highest quality from around the world. Whoever qualifies from this pool will have done very well and will certainly deserve their place in the last eight.
“That means it’s going to be exciting and a roller coaster ride, and I think the fans are going to be in for a real treat. This is what the Heineken Cup is all about, four quality teams battling it out over six games. I for one can’t wait, and I’m sure that our supporters feel exactly the same.
“I’m sure that we are going to get a warm welcome in Toulon, we’ve played out in France quite a few times now and have experienced some incredible atmospheres along the way so nothing will surprise the players, I’m sure of that. Once again, we will be backed by a substantial number of our fans, and the noise they will undoubtedly create will, I’m sure, provide a real boost for the players.
“The following week, it will be our turn to really create a fantastic atmosphere when London Irish come to the Liberty. We’ve enjoyed some great Heineken Cup occasions here over the years, none more so than when we welcomed the reigning Premiership champions Sale here on a Friday night a few years ago. That proved to be a cracking match with a Shane Williams try at the death sending home a big crowd very happy. Ticket sales are going well for London Irish game and we’re hopeful of a similar occasion and outcome, with a bumper crowd getting behind the team.”
Skipper Alun Wyn Jones echoed Roger Blyth’s views about the challenge that the Ospreys face in Pool Three.
"We know only too well that we are once again in another competitive group" he said.
"We do seem to have a bit of a reputation for being in tough groups, but that is not such a bad thing. It is often the case that teams who get through from the tougher and more competitive pools are the ones you see in the last four and that is where you want to be for a shout of winning the Cup.
"Our last Heineken Cup match was against a French team and we start this tournament against French opposition in what I am sure will be another formidable French atmosphere. Then we go back home to the Liberty Stadium, and another tough game against a team in good form. Hopefully, we’ll get a good crowd that night to help create a fantastic atmosphere of our own at the Liberty Stadium, something our fans are definitely capable of doing.”
Tickets for the London Irish game on Friday 15th October, as well as December’s Heineken Cup game against Munster and all home fixtures up to and including the Scarlets game on Boxing Day (with the exception of the LV= Cup game against Leicester) are on sale at the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office, online here or via the Ticket Hotline on 08700 400 004.
For group bookings of 20 people or more, please contact Rhodri Wells on 01792 616508 to secure your tickets for the big games at a 25 per cent discount.