To our supporters,
Tomorrow we resume our United Rugby Championship campaign against one of the top teams in European rugby, Leinster, a side we have enjoyed some historic clashes with over the years.
The last time we played Leinster in Dublin, a young Ospreys team full of homegrown talent came away with a memorable victory.
Toby Booth has talked about the Irish provinces being the benchmark and, of course, he is right. This season’s victories over Munster and Ulster at the Swansea.com Stadium were significant and important steps on our journey as a team.
In January you would have witnessed the team’s resilient performance against the URC leaders, Edinburgh. With 21 players missing it was a win we were all proud of and one that has set us up for an exciting end to the season.
That resilience was once again on show last week as our players had a significant influence on the international win’s vs Scotland.
I am sure we all want to congratulate the seven Ospreys players – Tomas Francis, Dewi Lake, Gareth Thomas, Adam Beard, Jac Morgan, Owen Watkin and Alex Cuthbert – for the role they played in Wales’ win over Scotland.
Last Friday we saw Wales Under 20s set the tone for the weekend, with Joe Hawkins, Harri Houston and Morgan Morse all crossing for tries.
The Ospreys have made a long-term commitment to develop our own talent, it is something we pride ourselves on and I want to pay tribute to the 77 clubs who are part of our region for the role they play in the development of our future players.
With Toby and Corin Palmer, the Ospreys Performance Director, and Mike Ruddock, our Development Director, we have three excellent people to lead the development of talent.
Developing our home-grown talent is a key part of our long-term strategic plan and means our recruitment is very deliberate and very much part of a plan to produce a sustainably successful team.
56% of the Ospreys squad could, in theory, buy U25 matchday tickets from our ticket office, that is, if they weren’t pulling on the jersey to play💪— Ospreys (@ospreys) December 22, 2021
Read all about our impressive young and local young guns here👇
Having had a deep look at the Ospreys during my first 10 months, I have been struck by how passionate our staff, players and supporters are and the lengths they go to for the Ospreys.
We are a professional sporting organisation, driven to win. We are also a pillar of our community and we take that responsibility very seriously.
I’m very proud of the excellent work of our official charity, Ospreys in the Community. Throughout the pandemic they have found agile ways to continue to deliver important support to people of all ages. I’m very thankful also to The National Lottery who have shown further support to OITC through a grant which will enable more great work to support our community. Expect more to happen in this space.
🚨NEW GROUP🚨— Ospreys in the Community (@CommunityOsprey) February 18, 2022
Venue number 6 has just blown in💨! If you or someone you know is over 55 - loves sport, a cuppa and a chat 💬 Then join our newest FREE sporting memories session at @Skewenrfc supporting those living with/caring for Dementia, loneliness, isolation #MoreThanRugby pic.twitter.com/uzBjBR0e2X
Personally, as someone new to Welsh rugby, I am humbled and excited by the passion and the values for the game as well as the opportunity to evolve it for the good of our supporters everywhere.
I read a lot about the strained relationship between the four professional teams and the Welsh Rugby Union. I would not deny there are challenges to overcome, however, what I can assure you is that we are all working together to find solutions for a sustainable future.
The desire to embrace real change is there and we all want the same thing – to see professional rugby in Wales thrive, not just survive. This can only be achieved through a healthy ecosystem that meets the needs of the regional and national teams.
At the Ospreys we recognize the importance of the WRU to enable the Regions to bounce back from the devastating and ongoing impact of the Covid era. However, we know that we must be the masters of our own destiny and embrace that.
The global rugby landscape is changing and, with insight and support of Y11 Sport & Media, we are excited to be at the forefront of this change, developing new ways to elevate the Ospreys and our Region, domestically and globally.
The URC offers us a great platform to elevate the Ospreys, playing in five countries across two hemispheres with some of the most recognisable rugby teams and players in the game. What the URC is doing to make rugby more innovative, accessible, engaging and diverse aligns with our ambition.
When Y11 acquired the Ospreys, the priority was to drive performance through strategic investment on the pitch and we have seen this play out in our league position. Consistent high performance remains our key objective, and we are also investing in the team behind the team – the key to sustainable success. Recent appointments have been in Finance, HR and Commercial where we have secured world class talent to help deliver our vision of being a global rugby powerhouse that sets the industry benchmark through inclusiveness, integrity, and excellence.
Our most recent appointment, Anthony Cole-Johnson from English Premier League Club Southampton FC, is a good example of this commitment to excellence. Anthony brings a wealth of experience that will ensure our supporters and commercial partners sit at the heart of our journey.
We are very lucky to have some incredible partners such as Philtronics, Keytree and Umbro, to name just a few, who are committed to our journey and integrated into our organisation, helping us achieve our objectives and deliver for our supporters and community.
Over the coming weeks we have several important fixtures, including two Welsh derbies. We can’t wait to welcome more of you back to the Swansea.com Stadium. Without your support, this doesn’t work. You are the reason we do what we do. I was overwhelmed by the comments and feedback that I’ve received following my recent media interviews and it shows me how much supporters really care about regional rugby. It is on us to deliver the best rugby experience, and in the coming weeks we will be reaching out to supporters to gain further feedback and insight.
Everyone at the Ospreys wants you to be a part of the journey, none more than the players who were lifted by your noise and reaction in the closing minutes vs Edinburgh.
I hope you are all looking forward to our next home game in the URC against Zebre at the Swansea.com Stadium on Sunday March 6th, (KO: 2pm).
We thank you for your continued support.
Ospreys Chief Executive Officer