Ieuan Evans believes there could be a Welsh winner of this year's Heineken Cup
Ieuan Evans believes this season could finally see a Welsh side crowned European Champions at the 15th time of asking.
No Welsh team has progressed to the final of the competition since Cardiff lost to Toulouse in the first-ever Heineken Cup back in 1995/96 but Evans is optimistic that the disappointing statistic could finally be about to change.
And of the four Welsh regions competing for the continent's greatest prize, the former Wales winger believes the Ospreys have the most-realistic chance of being crowned European Champions at the Stade de France in May next year.
"I would like to think we can see a Welsh winner this season," Evans told the Western Mail.
"We've gone beyond qualifying from the pool. We need a Welsh winner etched on the cup.
"In terms of talent, the Ospreys are the best equipped of the four Welsh regions. Looking at the depth of the squad, it's as good as anyone else in Europe."
The Ospreys have not yet fulfilled their potential on Europe's biggest stage, having made it through to the quarter-finals on just two occasions since their formation in 2003.
But Evans is confident that Scott Johnson's side can make amends this season, that is if they can win enough possession up front to feed a formidable backline that includes the likes of Lions tourists Tommy Bowe, Lee Byrne, Shane Williams, James Hook and Mike Phillips.
"You can't possibly think otherwise, considering the talent they've got," added Evans, who was himself a Heineken Cup winner with Bath in 1998.
"There isn't a team out there they should be afraid of.
"But it is not about the opposition, it's about getting the best out of themselves. The question is can they perform to their utmost? That is the key for the Ospreys.
"They have to optimise the talent at their disposal in the back-line and make sure the likes of James Hook, Shane Williams and Tommy Bowe get the ball in space.
"Rugby is a simple game. It's about winning possession and creating and exploiting space. When you've got a back-line like they have, with the pace and power they have got, you need to make the most of it.
"To triumph in Europe, you've got to take your chances and be clinical ... and that's a lesson to be heeded by every one of the Welsh sides."
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.