With tickets for this month's crunch Heineken Cup clash against Leicester Tigers selling well, Ospreys captain Ryan Jones has urged fans to pack the Liberty Stadium for the must-win encounter.
The Guinness Premiership giants arrive in Ospreylia on Saturday 23rd January (KO 1.35pm) in the final Pool 3 fixture, for a match that both teams will need to win to keep alive their hopes of reaching the knockout stages. A repeat of last season’s group decider which saw the Ospreys clinch a Quarter-Final place after securing a 15-9 win last January in front of more than 18,000 fans, it follows on from a pulsating 32-all draw at a packed Welford Road on the opening weekend of this season’s competition, and promises to be another nail-biter.
The Ospreys currently sit on top of Pool 3 after four games, holding a four point lead over both Leicester and French side Clermont Auvergne, who provide the next European challenge for the region when they travel to the Stade Marcel Michelin the week prior to the Leicester game, and skipper Jones says that with the Heineken Cup now reaching ‘crunch-time’, he hopes to see a full-house when he leads the side to face the reigning Guinness Premiership champions:
“We are at crunch-time now and you can’t fail to be excited about it. We’ve worked hard to put ourselves in a good position after four rounds, but this is where the hard work really starts. If we don’t hit the right performance levels in the final two fixtures this month then the results we secured in October and December won’t count for anything.
“It’s fantastic to be involved in big games like these for the region, and everyone in the squad is looking forward to them. We realise that we face a tough challenge, but we have been working hard to build towards January as we always knew that this was the decisive month in terms of progression to the next stage. We’ve improved throughout the season week on week, but we are under no illusions about where we are right now, we realise that we still have some way to go if we are going to finish off the job. The focus is very much on continuing that improvement and raising all areas of our game to another level.
“It’s going to be a fantastic occasion when we face Leicester, just as it was last season at the same stage. We go out to Clermont Auvergne first, knowing that we have to be professional out there and do our job properly to ensure that we bring something back with us. If we can do that, it will then set up the Leicester game to be something special. There’ll be a big crowd, just as there was up in Welford Road, and with it, there should be a great atmosphere. We’ve played Leicester quite a few times now, in some really big matches, and the intensity and the atmosphere is always right up there.
“What we want is for our fans to pack out the Liberty Stadium for the afternoon and really get behind us. It’s a team effort and we will have to do it together, players, coaches and supporters together, so hopefully, when we run out before the game we will see a full house making the noise that we know they are capable of. It’s going to be another great occasion in the short lifetime of the Ospreys.”
Tickets for the game are now available to buy from the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office, as well as via the Ticket Hotline on 08700 400 004 and online at www.ospreysrugby.com. There are also tickets still available for the trip to Clermont Auvergne the weekend before, which will remain on sale until at least the end of this week.