– 2008/9 season preview –

– 2008/9 season preview –

Club Details
Liberty Stadium,

Stadium Capacity: 20,520
Website: www.ospreysrugby.com
Founded: 2003

Last time around: Given the vast number of internationals the Ospreys boast, last season was something of a disastour for them, finishing four from the bottom. Not only that they were only marginally – three points – better off than Wales' worst-placed region, the Dragons. Given the class gap between the two regions it was no surprise that Head Coach Lyn Jones lost his job on the back of a hugely disappointing campaign. The Ospreys were the victims of their own wealth, as during the Six Nations they lost over half of their squad to various Welsh representative teams – including providing 13 of the starting XV for Wales v England.

This time: With Andrew Hore running the show now we can expect the Ospreys to be a far more profesional outfit. Their preparations have been second to none, as one would expect with a Kiwi in charge, and all signs point towards a great season. However, as always, the Ospreys will be hit hard during the international season and this could ultimately cost them a shot at claiming a second Magners League title in three years. They will hope that they can do enough when they have a full squad to pick from, but only time will tell if Hore has the ability to turn them around.

Coach: With Lyn Jones no longer in the picture the Ospreys are conducting a worldwide search for a replacement. In the meantime the coaching duties will fall at the feet of Jonathan Humphreys and Sean Holley. Holley worked under Jones and has proven his worth as an assistant, however Humphreys is relatively unknown in the coaching world. The two face a stiff challenge, especially given the high standards Hore is setting, but they can't do much worse than Jones did last year.

Captain: It will be a case of several captains leading the Ospreys this season, but when he is not on Welsh duty the honour will be for Ryan Jones to enjoy. He has proven with Wales that he is a natural born leader, never one to shy away from a battle and always willing to lead from the front. He will need to ensure all the egos at the Ospreys are in check and then focus on bringing together an outstanding bunch of individuals to perform as an outstanding team.

One to watch: Such is Tom Smith's standing, already, that he was in line to tour South Africa with Wales this year but was denied the chance due to injury. With Wales U19 and U21 caps to his name his hard work and physical approach caught the eye of Warren Gatland at the end of last season. Fresh from an injury lay-off expect Smith to make giant strides this season.

Final 2008/09 league position prediction: 4th

Squad: Lyndon Bateman, Huw Bennett, Leigh Bevan, Dan Biggar, Andrew Bishop, David Bishop, Tommy Bowe, Marc Breeze, Lee Byrne, Ian Evans, Ian Gough, Cai Griffiths, Richard Hibbard, Marty Holah, James Hook, Paul James, Adam Jones, Alun-Wyn Jones, Duncan Jones, Ryan Jones, Andy Lloyd, Andrew Millward, Craig Mitchell, Gareth Owen, Sonny Parker, Ed Shervington, Tom Smith, Steve Tandy, Jonathan Thomas, Filo Tiatia, Jonny Vaughton, Nikki Walker, Rhys Webb, Rhodri Wells, Shane Williams.

Colours: Black (home) White (away)

Tickets: Range from £4 to £25

Travel connections:

Car: From M4 – Swansea Vale Park and Ride. Come off at Junction 45, take the A4067 and follow signs to Stadium Park and Ride. The other Park and Ride site is situated at the Recreation Ground. For this take the A4067 and follow the signs. Disabled Supporters: A drop off/pick up only point is located at the front of the Stadium for disabled supporters.

Train: First Great Western and Arriva Trains operate regular services into Swansea's High Street Station, with frequent bus services to the Stadium. For train times call National Rail Enquiries on 08457 484950 or visit: www.nationalrail.co.uk

Bus: Buses from/to Swansea Quadrant Bus Station and Swansea Railway Station: Services 4, 4A, 120, 122, 125, 132, X20-X25, approximately every 5-10 minutes, daytime Monday to Saturday. Approx every 20 minutes on Sundays.

Plane: The nearest International airport is Cardiff Wales Airport. The airport is situated approximately forty-five minutes drive from the Liberty Stadium. For further information please call 01446 711111.