The Ospreys return to action on Saturday afternoon when Bath visit the Liberty Stadium and scrum-half Rhys Webb said that the players are excited about 'coming home' for the first time since claiming the RaboDirect PRO 12 title in dramatic style at the end of May.
Webb was one of the Ospreys’ international contingent over the summer, and as one of a number who will pull on the Ospreys jersey again this weekend he says he can’t wait for 3.00pm Saturday to come.
Looking back at his summer, which saw him travel to Australia with the national squad, Webb commented:
“I really enjoyed the trip, it was a great experience for me and has given me a real taste of something special. If I want to do it again I know that I’ve got to keep driving on and improving with the Ospreys this season.
“I’ve had four weeks off, come back in for pre-season where we’ve had some really tough sessions in the build-up to Saturday’s game. After a tough training camp in France last week I suppose I’m pretty much like the rest of the boys who weren’t involved against Clermont and itching to get back on the pitch at the Liberty wearing the Ospreys shirt again.”
Given their delayed return to pre-season training, Webb and his Wales colleagues used last week’s training camp in France to work on their conditioning ahead of this weekend’s game and the Bridgend Athletic product said that while it was a tough week, it was hugely beneficial in terms of preparation for the new season.
“It was great being out there together as a group” said Webb.
“I didn’t enjoy not being involved on the Friday night as I prefer to be playing, but we were really put through our paces. We did lots of conditioning work with Benny and it training in that heat will be beneficial to us in the long term but the thought of getting back into rugby is exciting. We’ve been looking sharp in training bit now we have to take that out onto the pitch on Saturday and put on a good performance for the supporters against Bath and really blow out the cobwebs.
“It’s important that we show up well as a team and are really switched on as I know the coaches will be looking at every one of us closely to help them decide who gets to wear the shirt on the first weekend of the PRO12 season.
“We’ll have two good clear weeks to finish off our preparations then before heading off to Treviso where we want to really get the season started with a bang. They are always difficult opponents and have strengthened over the summer, and got a good win over Wasps in their first pre-season game so we respect them as a team.”
A big pre-season crowd is expected at the weekend with just short of 9,000 season memberships already snapped up by fans eager to be part of the cause, something Webb says is a huge boost for the team:
“It’s great news. We saw at the end of last season what a difference a big crowd here can make. The atmosphere at the Dragons and Munster games was as good as anything we’ve experienced at the Liberty and it’s great to think that we’ll get those kinds of crowds week in week out this season.
“It’s going to be good to be back home at the Liberty for the first time this season. We’re all really looking forward to playing in front of our fans again and building on where we left off as a team in May.”
Match tickets are on sale now at the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office, online at www.ospreysrugby.comand via the Ticket Hotline on 0844 815 6665, while season memberships remain on sale right up until the start of the region’s PRO12 defence, with prices starting at just £185 to see all 17 home games – and all memberships are buy one, get one free!