Ospreys Head Coach Sean Holley is excited about the Heineken Cup campaign ahead as the ambitious Welsh region aim to reach the knock-out stages for the third successive season.
Responding to the Pool Pool 3 fixtures announced by ERC said today Sean Holley said….
"The Heineken Cup always throws up an interesting series of fixtures and this year it is no different. We find ourselves with a schedule that is very much a repeat of last season, starting and ending with tough games against Leicester Tigers, difficult French opposition and back-to-back games against an Italian side in December, so we know what the challenges are and will be looking forward to them. We are used to being in a difficult Pool; last years three opponents all ended up as Champions of their respective domestic competitions but we still managed to qualify from the group."
The Ospreys travel to the redeveloped 24,000 capacity Welford Road Stadium for their Heineken Cup open against Leicester Tigers on Sunday, 11 October 2009.
Holley believes Clermont will also be difficult opponents saying…
"No doubt supporters will be very much focused on the games against Leicester, but we realise that we face three very good teams. Clermont were runners up in last seasons Top 14 and, like Leicester have huge resources. We will therefore need to be playing consistently and positively if we are going to match our achievement of the last two seasons and progress to the knockout stages once again. It's a fantastic tournament that promises to deliver twists and turns again this season, but we are excited about it. We've had some great Heineken Cup days at the Liberty Stadium, and we want more. The fixtures are a mouth watering prospect for our fans and we are working hard to reward them for their loyal support."
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.