The Ospreys Premiership Select side will play their British & Irish Cup campaign at club grounds across the region, with confirmation today that Aberavon, Neath and Maesteg will all host a match.
- B&I Cup campaign to be played at grounds across the region, with the Ospreys PS side playing at the Gnoll and Talbot Athletic Ground once again this season
- Maesteg's Old Parish Ground will also host a fixture - the second time that an Ospreys PS side has played there following a 2008 pre-season game
- The move means that five community clubs will host regional rugby this season following Monday's announcement that the Anglo Welsh Cup games will be played at Swansea and Bridgend
Following on from the announcement earlier this week that Anglo Welsh Cup fixtures will be played at the home of Bridgend Ravens and Swansea, today’s announcement is further evidence of the Ospreys’ continued commitment to supporting and growing grass roots interest in the game in all corners of the region.
The Premiership Select will kick off their second B&I Cup campaign at the Gnoll on Saturday 15th October, their opening fixture against London Irish, kicking off at 2.30pm. It is a welcome return to Neath RFC, venue for a game in this competition against Yorkshire Carnegie back in January, following on from an LV= Cup tie against Saracens in November 2014.
Connacht Eagles will visit the Talbot Athletic Ground on Sunday 18th December at 2.00pm. Aberavon also hosted a game in this competition last season, against London Scottish in November.
Then, in January, the team will make a trip up the Llynfi Valley to Maesteg, for the game against Cornish Pirates on the weekend of 13/14/15 January.
The Old Parish Ground has hosted a Premiership Select side once before, when the Ospreys visited in the summer of pre-season 2008, running in nine tries in a 66-0 win against a Select team that included youngsters Ashley Beck, Tavis Knoyle, Craig Mitchell, and Ryan Bevington.
After the clubhouse was devastated by fire three years ago, the historic club has literally risen from the ashes and the new facilities were officially opened with a special fixture against Neath last month.
Andrew Millward, Managing Director, Ospreys Rugby, hailed the news, which means that four Premiership clubs in the Ospreys region will host games this season, along with the newly revitalizes Maesteg:
“This competition provides a showcase for players at the community clubs to come into our environment and work with our coaches to show what they are capable of. We are all excited about the opportunity it provides for young players, and about seeing the talent there is out there in the region.
“Given the nature of the competition, it makes perfect sense for us to play these games out in the community, at grounds where they perform for their club side or where they can provide an inspiration for youngsters who aim to one day potentially play at Premiership level or even higher with the Ospreys.
“We can’t wait to go back to Maesteg to help them mark the opening of their new facilities. This game will give us an opportunity to really engage with the local community and help strengthen the ties they have with the Ospreys, while the Gnoll and Talbot Athletic Ground, venues we all know so well, need no further introduction. We hope that taking games out on the road like this will allow local communities to come out and get behind their region.”
Ben Jenkins, General Manager, Neath RFC, said:
“Neath RFC are delighted to be hosting the Ospreys Premiership Select fixture against London Irish at the Gnoll next month. It is many years since London Irish appeared at the Gnoll and we hope there will be a good Neath representation in the starting 15.”
Andrew John, Chairman, Aberavon RFC, added:
“Aberavon RFC are delighted to host the B&I group stage game between the Ospreys Premiership Select XV and Connacht Eagles in December. It’s an opportunity for all local rugby fans to come along to the Talbot Athletic Ground to see first hand the exciting young local talent that the region are developing. It will be the first time that Connacht will have visited the ground so we look forward to welcoming both teams and supporters on the afternoon.”
Darren Farmer, Hon. Secretary, Maesteg RFC, commented:
“We are looking forward to hosting this British & Irish Cup match which is a great opportunity for rugby supporters in the Llynfi Valley to see a higher level competition played at a great facility.”
The Ospreys Premiership Select side will again wear a jersey that represents the four Premiership clubs in the region, clubs who will all provide players for the competition.
The striking shirt features the red of Aberavon, blue of Bridgend, black of Neath and white of Swansea in a traditional quartered rugby shirt design, identifying the part that the clubs play in developing the next generation of talent and allowing players to show their true colours.
Clarity Copiers, a long-term commercial partner of the Ospreys, continues to support the Premiership Select and their logo is again emblazoned across the chest of the BLK jersey.
Full ticketing arrangements for all three games will be confirmed shortly so please keep checking the website for updates.