The Ospreys will be showing their support for UK troops at the forthcoming Magners League fixture against Connacht, by inviting a battalion of local servicemen who have just returned from Afghanistan as guest of honours to the fixture.
The region has also committed to allowing all servicemen and women with a valid warrant card into the fixture free of charge.
The Ospreys have invited A Company, Second Battalion, The Royal Welsh, also known as the ‘Welsh Warriors’ to attend the fixture as special guests. A Company are currently serving in Afghanistan, and will return to Wales shortly before the match on Sunday 21st February.
The Ospreys, who have strong links with the Battalion after sending them video recorded messages of support during their time abroad, have planned a minutes applause and lap of the Stadium to honour the local heroes.
The Welsh Warriors have also decided to do their bit for UK charity Help for Heroes on the day, and are organising a bucket collection at the Liberty Stadium, to take place ahead of the 5pm kick off. The crucial Magners League fixture is a key date for the Ospreys, as it could see the region enhance their strong position near the top of the Magners League and keep them in line for a home semi final in the Play-Offs.
Paul Thorburn, Ospreys Strategic Development Manager, said:
“Amongst the thousands of soldiers serving in some extremely dangerous conditions, there are a significant number of local lads, all of whom deserve recognition from the community around them. This is an opportunity for all the Ospreys fans to show our troops how proud we are of them, and thank them for the dedication and sacrifice they make on our behalf.
“As a gesture of respect to all those who serve in our armed forces, we are pleased to announce that we will not charge anyone with a valid warrant card for entry to the Stadium at the Connacht game.
“Help for Heroes is a charity that does vital work across the UK in aiding and assisting our troops, so we are happy to be working alongside the A Company and the charity to do what we can to raise both money and awareness for this worthwhile cause.”
Help for Heroes raises money to support members of the Armed Forces who have been wounded in the service of their country. The charity allocates money raised to fund direct projects, such as the establishment of Personnel Recovery Centres (PRCtrs) across the UK and support other service charities.
Captain Lee Davies, from the Royal Welsh, said:
“It’s great that the Ospreys want to show their support to the troops, and it’s a huge boost to us to know that the region is behind us. Many of the troops from A Company are local lads and big Ospreys fans, so they feel it is a privilege that the Club has invited them along as guests to the Liberty Stadium. It should never be underestimated what a difference a thank you gesture can make to our soldiers, especially to these guys who will have returned from Afghanistan so recently.
“The lads from A Company thought it would also be an ideal opportunity to raise the profile of Help for Heroes, and get some fundraising done for the charity on match day. We hope that Ospreys fans will dig deep and contribute what they can to Help for Heroes, which does some great work all over the UK supporting our injured soldiers. Now more than ever these young men and women need our support and compassion.”
The Ospreys are encouraging all servicemen and women with valid warrant cards who wish to take advantage of the free entry to visit the ticket office at the Liberty Stadium ahead of the match to avoid congestion, although tickets can also be purchased on match day.
To purchase tickets, please call 08700 400004 or visit the Ospreys website
The video of supportive messages from the Ospreys to the Welsh Warriors is also viewable on the Ospreys website (see Ospreys TV).