Scrum-half Rhys Webb says the Liberty factor could be the difference this weekend when the Ospreys attempt to conquer English champions Saracens in a "must win" game at their Swansea home on Friday evening.
Sarries arrive in Ospreylia for the second leg of the always pivotal European double-header, having taken control of Pool 5 with a 31-26 win over the region at Wembley last Saturday night.
Webb, who turned 23 the day before the first leg, says that with the Ospreys’ European home record up there with the very best, home advantage could again prove the difference – and he believes that the fans will have their part to play.
“We know that we can’t afford to lose but we’re confident, we’re thinking positively and we believe in our ability to win on Friday night. There’s a positive attitude in everything we’re doing, hopefully we’ll get the crowd right behind us and we can give them a good performance to be proud of.
“The Liberty is a difficult place for teams to come and win, we’ve got a good home record in the Heineken Cup and have been unbeaten here a long time. We want to get it right on Friday and extend that record. If we can do that we know that we’ll be in with a real chance of getting through the group stage with two games to go.
“There was a good turnout at Wembley, the boys really appreciated all the fans who came up there. We heard them getting behind us and they really helped us get that bonus point in the second half. Hopefully we’ll have them all behind us again to inspire us this week.”
Having started sluggishly and going behind after only three minutes the Ospreys were always chasing the game at Wembley and Webb says the performance has to improve if they are going to secure a crucial victory.
“It’s definitely a must win game” he agreed.
“As a team we’re all really looking forward to Friday night now and getting on with it. Last week we went up there and although we weren’t at our best we scored 26 points against one of England’s best teams, the champions, and we did that without getting much possession.
“That’s a positive we’ll take from the game on Saturday. We know that if we can get it right and up the amount of possession we get, then we can create opportunities to get plenty more points on the board.
“We have to cut out basic errors, improve concentration and skills and improve our discipline. They let us down at crucial times, particularly in the first half, and it meant we made it difficult for ourselves. When you are chasing a game from the first minute because of your own mistakes it’s difficult. But we didn’t give up and I think we showed what we are made of to battle back for a point that could be the difference in the end.
“The boys are in good spirits going into the game, we’ve trained well this week and we’re really excited about Friday. We’re really looking forward to it.”
Having regained the number nine shirt from Kahn Fotuali’i last month Webb is in no mood to relinquish it once again, but the Bridgend Athletic product, who recently celebrated his 50th Ospreys cap, says the competition will drive him on to become a better player:
“I’m really enjoying being in this environment, and really enjoying my rugby at the moment. Obviously it’s a great place to be and there’s good competition for the shirt between me and Kahn, which can only improve my game as I know how hard I’ve got to work to have a chance of being involved.
“He’s fit now after missing the last few games so we are battling for it again. I wouldn’t say it puts extra pressure on, it’s a positive thing if the coaches have tough selection choices. We are both pushing each other and whoever gets picked you can guarantee that we’ll both still be giving 100 per cent to the Ospreys.”