Ospreys head north for ‘A’ game

The Ospreys will face Aviva Premiership opposition Sale Sharks in an ‘A’ team game in Colwyn Bay next month as part of a two day festival of rugby.

The fixture at Parc Eirias, home of RGC 1404, on Monday 13th April at 7.30pm, is the highlight of a flying visit that will also see commercial guests coming together on matchday, before Ospreys players and coaches will lead a series of special coaching clinics with school children from across North Wales on the Tuesday.

Hosted by Conwy County Borough Council, in conjunction with the region’s commercial partners Oil4Wales, RWE Innogy UK and Castell Howell, it will be the first time that the Ospreys have played a senior fixture at Parc Eirias. However, they have been regular visitors in North Wales over the last 10 years, participating in a number of community and rugby focused events with RWE as part of the long-term relationship between the organisations.

Andrew Hore, Chief Executive, Ospreys Rugby, said:

“We are thrilled to be heading back to Colwyn Bay. We have always received a warm welcome in the town, and the surrounding area, when visiting in the past. I particularly recall some of our pre-season camps when the local rugby community have really turned out in big numbers and, hopefully, that will be the case once again.

“The relationship that we have with the WRU’s Rupert Moon and his team at RGC is first class, and we are extremely grateful for his support in enabling this fixture to go ahead. In addition, without the assistance of Oil 4 Wales, Conwy Borough County Council, Castell Howell and RWE Innogy UK, this fantastic festival of rugby would not be possible.

“While there will be a packed schedule of activity over the two days, at the heart of it is a rugby fixture that will be invaluable in terms of player development. Following on from the game against Cardiff Blues earlier in the season, it’s great to be able to give an opportunity for some of the boys on the fringes of the squad a chance to play as a unit under an Ospreys banner, allowing us to see what they can do as a team.”

Rupert Moon, General Manager, RGC, added:

“We pride ourselves in maintaining good relationships with all the professional rugby regions for the good of Welsh rugby and the development of north Wales players.

“A number of RGC players have gained professional or development contracts in recent times, with James King, Olly Cracknell and Morgan and Tom Williams of the Ospreys great examples.

“The visit to Parc Eirias by the Ospreys squad will provide a fantastic opportunity for children in the area to be coached by professional players and coaches and we will maximise the opportunity via the School-Club Hub officers and WRU development staff in the region.

“The match too, will be another opportunity for local rugby fans to watch high quality rugby. We have seen, following the success of the Wales Under 20 Six Nations matches at Parc Eirias, that there is an appetite for top class rugby here and I’m sure the supporters that turn up won’t be disappointed on April 13.”

The Ospreys will be wearing a special one-off strip for the fixture, with the logo of Oil 4 Wales on the front of the BLK jersey and RWE Innogy UK on the back. 

Colin Owens, managing director of Oil 4 Wales, said:

“We’ve got a strong affiliation with Welsh rugby through our ambassadors, who include Dan Lydiate and Dan Biggar, and we already work closely with the Ospreys. When they mentioned they were bringing a game to North Wales we jumped at the chance of being involved.

“We’re really looking forward to the match and the community coaching sessions as we know how many of our customers are rugby fans.

“At Oil 4 Wales, our slogan is ‘working with the community, for the community’ and through sponsorship of initiatives such as this we really demonstrate how we put the local community at the heart of our operation.

“We’ve had a great reception since launching our Blaenau Ffestiniog depot at the end of last year and we look forward to meeting more of the local community at this fixture.”

RWE Innogy UK has operated hydro schemes and onshore and offshore wind farms in North Wales for decades, creating and sustaining local jobs and investing millions of pounds into the economy in order to make a positive difference locally.

Ospreys players have helped build that relationship, having worked on initiatives with RWE, including a junior rugby festival and 7s tournament in Rhyl, events including the launch of the £690,000 Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm Tourism Fund and, in 2014, Apprenticeship Awards at Llandrillo College, and the launch of the highly successful Ospreys Schools Programme.

RWE Innogy UK’s Head of Hydro, Vince Read, said:

“During our many decades of hydro and wind power operations in North Wales, we’ve supported communities and organisations across the entire area, all as a direct result of the operation of our renewable energy projects.

“Through our long term relationship with Ospreys, we’ve been able to grow that engagement in new ways across North Wales, and so it’s great to see Ospreys up here with us once again, to continue building even stronger links with communities for the future.”

Cllr Graham Rees, Conwy Council’s Cabinet Member for Tourism, Marketing and Leisure said:

“We have a great facility at Parc Eirias, and hosting events and activities is a key part of our programme to stimulate regeneration, attract investment, boost local business and support business stability in the region.  We’re delighted that rugby fans in North Wales can enjoy another exciting fixture on their doorstep, and we look forward to welcoming both teams and their supporters to Colwyn Bay for what should be great game.”

Tickets for this fixture available to buy from RGC with adults priced at £5, concessions £3 and U16s free with a paying adult.