Ospreys (rugby team)

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Ospreys
Ospreys badge.png
Union Welsh Rugby Union
Founded 2003; 11 years ago (2003)
Location Swansea, Wales
Ground(s) Liberty Stadium (Capacity: 20,750)
Chairman Geoff Atherton
Coach(es) Steve Tandy (Head Coach)
Chris Gibbes (Forwards)
Gruff Rees (Backs)
Chris Towers (Head Physio)
Brian O'Leary (Physio)
Mark Bennett (Head of Strength & Conditioning)
Kevin Morgan (Conditioning)
Craig Maloney(Technical Analyst)
Jon Williams (Nutritionist)
Stephen Mellalieu (Sports Psychologist)
Captain(s) Alun Wyn Jones
Most caps Duncan Jones (200)
Top scorer Dan Biggar (1188)
Most tries Shane Williams (57)
League(s) Pro12
2012–13 5th
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website
www.ospreysrugby.com

The Ospreys (Welsh: Y Gweilch), formerly the Neath-Swansea Ospreys [1] is one of the four professional rugby union teams from Wales. They compete in the RaboDirect Pro12 and the Heineken Cup. The team formed as a result of Neath RFC and Swansea RFC combining to create a new merged entity, as part of the new regional structure of Welsh rugby, that began in 2003. They are also affiliated with a number of local semi-professional and amateur clubs, including Welsh Premier Division sides Aberavon RFC, Bridgend Ravens, and original founding clubs Neath and Swansea. The regional area represented by the team has widely become known for rugby purposes as 'Ospreylia'.[2]

Their main home ground is the Liberty Stadium, Swansea, although some smaller profile games have been played at the Brewery Field, Bridgend. Ospreys currently play in a black home strip, while the away strip is white and orange. The Ospreys logo consists of an image of an Osprey mask.

The Ospreys are the most successful team in the history of the Celtic League or Pro12 tournament, having won the competition four times. They also became the first and only Welsh regional team to beat a major touring side, defeating Australia 24–16 in 2006.[3]

History[edit]

WalesRugbyRegions.png

Infancy[edit]

On 24 July 2003 it was announced that the new team jointly representing Neath RFC and Swansea RFC would be known as the Neath-Swansea Ospreys.[4] The Ospreys part of the team's name was inspired by the use of the bird as Swansea RFC's centenary badge.[5] Former Neath RFC coach Lyn Jones was appointed as head coach, who named Scott Gibbs as the team's first ever captain.[6] 5 September 2003 saw the region play their first ever competitive game, a 41–30 Celtic League home win over Irish province Ulster at The Gnoll in Neath.[7] Leeds Tykes were the Ospreys' first ever Heineken Cup opponents, with the English team triumphing 29–20 on 7 December 2003.[8] They struggled to recover from their opening defeat, finishing bottom of their pool, recording their only victory against the Tykes' at home in the final round at St. Helens.[9] Domestically the Ospreys' did salvage some pride, avoiding becoming the lowest placed Welsh region, by pipping Cardiff Blues to fifth place in the Celtic League.[10]

Following the demise of the Celtic Warriors region on 1 June 2004,[11] Neath-Swansea Ospreys had their borders extended to cover much of the Bridgend and Ogmore areas to the east.[12] However, for logistical reasons it was decided that no home games would be played at Bridgend RFC's Brewery Field.[13] Former Warriors players David Bishop, Brent Cockbain, Ryan Jones and Sonny Parker were signed by the Ospreys'.

2004–2007[edit]

The 2004–2005 season saw significant on field improvement for the region. A capacity crowd of 10,280 were present at The Gnoll on 26 March 2005 to witness the Ospreys claim their first ever piece of silverware. A 29–12 win over Edinburgh, with two rounds of the competition still remaining, saw the team crowned Celtic League champions.[14] However Impressive back to back wins over Harlequins were not enough to overcome Munster in the pool stages of that season's Heineken Cup. On 14 May 2005 it was announced that the 'Neath-Swansea' part of the team's name would be dropped, with them to be referred to as the Ospreys.[1]

A growing sense of expectation surrounded the team heading into 2005–2006, an expectation they struggled to cope with, finishing a disappointing seventh in the Celtic League. A difficult Heineken Cup pool made up of tough opposition in Leicester Tigers, Stade Francais and ASM Clermont Auvergne proved too difficult, as they finished a distant third. A gutsy home victory over Stade [15] and a last gasp defeat to Leicester,[16] did however offer some crumbs of comfort. In April 2006, it was announced that noted former New Zealand All Blacks scrum half Justin Marshall had signed to play for Ospreys.

The Ospreys won the Celtic League during the 2006/07 season, topping the league by a single point and taking the title with an away win at Borders. Winning the Celtic League for a second time meant the Ospreys were the first team to have won the Celtic League twice. In February 2008, the Ospreys provided 13 of the starting line-up for Wales in their Six Nations match against England, setting a new record for the number of players from one region playing for their national side. During the 2007/08 season the Ospreys reached Quarter-final of the Heineken Cup for the first time but unexpectedly lost to Saracens. The following week they won the EDF Energy Cup beating Leicester Tigers at Twickenham.

In November 2006 when it became apparent that Wales 'A' would not be able to face Australia midweek during their November tour, the Ospreys became the first Welsh region to play a major international side since regional rugby was introduced, a match they won 24–16.[17] Following the win over the Wallabies, the term Ospreylia became ingrained in popular culture[18][19][20] with it being adopted by the region and its supporters as a description of the geographical area covered by the region, with supporters known as Ospreylians. Peter Black, Assembly Member for south west Wales has declared himself as AM for Ospreylia on his own blog.[21]

On 23 February 2007, the Ospreys played their first 'A' team match, against Newport-Gwent Dragons 'A' at Bridgend, which was the first 'A' match fixture for any of the Welsh regional sides. They lost the match 22–10. They have since gone on to play Worcester 'A' in April, a game which they lost 24–23 to an injury-time penalty.

2008–2011[edit]

In February 2008 Andrew Hore was appointed as the Ospreys as elite performance director. Previously Hore had been high performance manager with the New Zealand Rugby Union.[22]

A disappointing fourth place finish in the Celtic League and a surprise Heineken Cup quarter-final exit to Saracens F.C. saw head coach Lyn Jones resign at the end of the 2007–2008 season, on 16 May 2008 Assistant Coach Sean Holley and forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys would continue as part of a new management structure being overseen by Andrew Hore, until a replacement could be found.[23] Scott Johnson, the former Head Coach of the Welsh national team, and Attack Coach when Wales won the Six Nations Championship Grand Slam in 2005 for the first time in 27 years, was announced as Director of Coaching at the Ospreys on 29 January 2009.

On 21 April 2009, the Ospreys had six players included in the British and Irish Lions' squad for the 2009 South African tour: Lee Byrne (Fullback), Tommy Bowe and Shane Williams (Wings), Mike Phillips (Scrum Half), Alun-Wyn Jones (Lock) and Adam Jones (Prop). One notable omission however, was Wales and Ospreys captain Ryan Jones. The Ospreys announced the signing of former New Zealand All Blacks captain Jerry Collins on 9 May 2009.[24] Collins had been a stalwart for the All Blacks, since 2004 but retired from international rugby in 2008.

A 29–28 defeat by Biarritz on 10 April 2010 dashed the team's hopes of a first ever Heineken Cup semi-final appearance. A late Nicky Walker try in San Sebastien proved in vain.[25] However on 29 May 2010, the Ospreys won the 2009–10 Celtic League by defeating Leinster in the final by 17–12 at the RDS Arena in Dublin.[26]

Following a wide-ranging review, Andrew Hore, previously elite performance director at the Ospreys, became on 26 April 2011 chief operations officer at the region.[22]

2010–11 would not see the region reach the heights of the previous one. Despite winning all their home pool games in the Heineken Cup, a failure to win on the road proved costly, with Munster and Toulon progressing instead. Another win for Munster at Thomond Park on 14 May 2011, ended the Ospreys Celtic League aspirations at the semi-final stage.[27]

2012–[edit]

Former player Steve Tandy was appointed as new Ospreys head coach on 15 February 2012 replacing Sean Holley in the role, as Scott Johnson also departed to take up a coaching role with Scotland.[28] Both Holley and Johnson's final game as part of the coaching setup at the Liberty Stadium had been an 36–5 away loss to Biarritz, which marked the end of a Heineken Cup campaign that saw them again fail to win on their travels. New coach Tandy enjoyed a successful start to his tenure, winning eight of his first ten matches as full-time Head Coach, including winning the 2011–12 Pro12 following a 31–30 win over Leinster at the RDS, thanks to a late Shane Williams try in his final match for the region 29–30 and Dan Biggar adding a difficult conversion for the win 31–30.[29]

Honours[edit]

Season records[edit]

Celtic League & Pro12[edit]

Season Pos Played Won Drawn Lost Bonus Points
2003–04 5th 22 11 1 10 9 55
2004–05 1st 20 16 1 3 10 76
2005–06 7th 22* 11 0 9 3 55
2006–07 1st 20 14 0 6 8 64
2007–08 7th 18 6 1 11 11 37
2008–09 4th 18 11 0 7 8 52
2009–10 2nd 18 13 0 5 6 52
Semi-final Ospreys 20 – 15 Glasgow Warriors
Grand Final Leinster 12 – 17 Ospreys
2010–11 4th 22 12 1 9 13 63
Semi-final Munster 18 – 11 Ospreys
2011–12 2nd 22 16 1 5 5 71
Semi-final Ospreys 45 – 10 Munster
Grand Final Leinster 30 – 31 Ospreys
2012–13 5th 22 14 1 7 4 62

* Includes 2 "Free Weekends" which equated to 4 points each

Celtic Cup[edit]

Season Round Match
2003–04 1st Leinster 35 – 21 Neath-Swansea Ospreys

Heineken Cup[edit]

Season Pool/Round Pos Played Won Drawn Lost Bonus Points
2003–04 Pool 2 4th 6 1 0 5 0 4
2004–05 Pool 4 3rd 6 3 0 3 2 14
2005–06 Pool 4 3rd 6 2 0 4 1 9
2006–07 Pool 3 2nd 6 4 1 1 2 20
2007–08 Pool 2 2nd 6 5 0 1 1 21
Quarter-final Saracens 19 – 10 Ospreys
2008–09 Pool 3 2nd 6 4 0 2 4 20
Quarter-final Munster 43 – 9 Ospreys
2009–10 Pool 3 2nd 6 4 1 1 2 20
Quarter-final Biarritz Olympique 29 – 28 Ospreys
2010–11 Pool 3 3rd 6 3 0 3 2 14
2011–12 Pool 5 3rd 6 2 1 3 3 13
2012–13 Pool 2 3rd 6 2 1 3 2 12

Anglo-Welsh Cup[edit]

Season Group/Round Pos Played Won Drawn Lost Bonus Points
2005–06 Group A 3rd 3 1 0 2 2 6
2006–07 Group A 1st 3 3 0 0 2 14
Semi-final Ospreys 27 – 10 Cardiff Blues
Final Leicester Tigers 41 – 35 Ospreys
2007–08 Group C 1st 3 3 0 0 2 14
Semi-final Ospreys 30 – 3 Saracens
Final Ospreys 23 – 6 Leicester Tigers
2008–09 Group C 1st 3 2 0 1 2 10
Semi-final Gloucester 17 – 0 Ospreys
2009–10 Pool 1 4th 4 1 0 3 1 5
2010–11 Pool 4 3rd 4 3 0 1 2 14
2011–12 Pool 1 3rd 4 1 0 3 1 5
2012–13 Pool 4 3rd 4 1 0 3 2 6

Home grounds[edit]

Liberty Stadium

In their first two seasons, the Ospreys shared their home games between St Helen's (home ground of Swansea RFC) and The Gnoll (home ground of Neath RFC). Since their third season in 2005–06, they have played at the purpose-built 20,000 seat Liberty Stadium in Landore, Swansea, which is shared with Swansea City. The Liberty Stadium, with double the capacity of St Helen's, has seen a capacity crowd for the matches against international tourists Australia (1 November 2006[30]) and against local rivals the Scarlets.[31] On 12 November 2010 the team played their first competitive fixture at the Brewery Field home ground of Bridgend Ravens in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.[32]

Current standings[edit]

Pro12 Table watch · edit · discuss
Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Difference Tries For Tries Against Try Bonus Losing Bonus Points
1 Ireland Leinster 19 14 1 4 455 312 +143 45 27 7 4 69
2 Ireland Ulster 19 14 0 5 422 253 +169 43 20 6 3 65
3 Ireland Munster 19 14 0 5 434 285 +149 42 21 5 2 63
4 Scotland Glasgow Warriors 18 14 0 4 328 250 +78 33 16 1 3 60
5 Wales Ospreys 19 11 1 7 479 328 +151 48 25 5 5 56
6 Wales Scarlets 19 9 1 9 361 383 −22 34 40 2 5 45
7 Scotland Edinburgh 18 7 0 11 325 393 −68 30 40 1 6 35
8 Ireland Connacht 19 6 0 13 313 410 −97 34 41 4 6 34
9 Wales Cardiff Blues 19 6 1 12 371 483 −112 26 48 1 6 33
10 Wales Newport Gwent Dragons 19 6 1 12 339 419 −80 29 38 0 5 31
11 Italy Benetton Treviso 19 5 1 13 334 471 −137 27 57 1 6 29
12 Italy Zebre 19 3 2 14 291 465 −174 29 47 0 5 21

If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:[33]

  1. number of matches won;
  2. the difference between points for and points against;
  3. the number of tries scored;
  4. the most points scored;
  5. the difference between tries for and tries against;
  6. the fewest number of red cards received;
  7. the fewest number of yellow cards received.
Green background (rows 1 to 4) are play-off places. The top team from each country, plus the three highest-placed teams apart from those, will qualify for the Rugby Champions Cup. Updated 12 April 2014. Source: RaboDirect PRO12

Current squad[edit]

Squad for 2013-14 [34]

  • Players capped internationally in bold.

Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under IRB eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-IRB nationality.

Player Position Union
Scott Baldwin Hooker Wales Wales
Matthew Dwyer Hooker Wales Wales
Richard Hibbard Hooker Wales Wales
Dmitri Arhip Prop Moldova Moldova
Ryan Bevington Prop Wales Wales
Aaron Jarvis Prop Wales Wales
Adam Jones Prop Wales Wales
Duncan Jones Prop Wales Wales
Joe Rees Prop Wales Wales
Nicky Smith Prop Wales Wales
Dan Suter Prop Wales Wales
Marc Thomas Prop Wales Wales
Nicky Thomas Prop Wales Wales
Ian Evans Lock Wales Wales
Rhodri Hughes Lock Wales Wales
Alun Wyn Jones (c) Lock Wales Wales
Perry Parker (loan) Lock England England
Lloyd Peers Lock Wales Wales
Sam Williams Lock Wales Wales
Tyler Ardron Flanker Canada Canada
Arthur Ellis Flanker Wales Wales
Ryan Jones Flanker Wales Wales
James King Flanker Wales Wales
Sam Lewis Flanker Wales Wales
Tom Smith Flanker Wales Wales
Justin Tipuric Flanker Wales Wales
Morgan Allen Number 8 Wales Wales
Dan Baker Number 8 Wales Wales
Joe Bearman Number 8 England England
Player Position Union
Tom Habberfield Scrum-half Wales Wales
Tito Tebaldi Scrum-half Italy Italy
Phil Mack Scrum-half Canada Canada
Rhys Webb Scrum-half Wales Wales
Dan Biggar Fly-half Wales Wales
Sam Davies Fly-half Wales Wales
Matthew Morgan Fly-half Wales Wales
Ashley Beck Centre Wales Wales
Andrew Bishop Centre Wales Wales
Nathan Edwards Centre Wales Wales
Tom Isaacs Centre Wales Wales
Ben John Centre Wales Wales
Jonathan Spratt Centre Wales Wales
Hanno Dirksen Wing South Africa South Africa
Aisea Natoga Wing Fiji Fiji
Tom Grabham Wing Wales Wales
Jeff Hassler Wing Canada Canada
Dafydd Howells Wing Wales Wales
Eli Walker Wing Wales Wales
Richard Fussell Fullback Wales Wales
Ross Jones Fullback Wales Wales
Jamie Murphy Fullback Wales Wales
  • England Joe Bearman is Welsh qualified through residency.
  • England Perry Parker is Welsh qualified through a relative.
  • South Africa Hanno Dirksen will qualify for Wales through residency after the 2013-14 season.

Players In 2014-15[edit]

Players Out 2014–15[edit]

Notable players & coaches[edit]

See also: Category:Ospreys (rugby team) players.

British and Irish Lions[edit]

The following players were selected for the British and Irish Lions touring squads while playing for the Ospreys.

Centurions[edit]

Players who have reached the 100 appearance mark for the Ospreys.

Notable Non-Welsh Players[edit]

Notable non-Welsh players who have 20 or more international caps to their name and represented the Ospreys.

Former coaches[edit]

ERC Elite Awards[edit]

During the 10th anniversary season of the Heineken Cup, ERC, the tournament organisers, introduced the ERC Elite Awards scheme to recognise and reward the glittering list of elite players and teams who have made outstanding contributions to the northern hemisphere's leading club rugby tournament.

Ospreys were awarded the ERC team award for playing 50 games [35]

Ospreys players who have been awarded 50 tournament caps are:[36]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://www.walesonline.co.uk/rugbynation/rugby-news/tm_objectid=15516747&method=full&siteid=50082&headline=ospreys-in-name-change-name_page.html
  2. ^ Updated 9:58am 2 November 2012 (2006-10-28). "Rugby puts Ospreylia on the map - Rugby Columnists - Rugby". WalesOnline. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  3. ^ "Ospreys 24-16 Australia". BBC News. 2006-11-01. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  4. ^ "Ospreys set to soar". BBC News. 2003-07-24. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  5. ^ "The night the Ospreys got set for take-off in rugby union | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  6. ^ Administrator, Sotic (2003-09-02). "News : Who Are The Ospreys?". Ulster Rugby. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  7. ^ "Ospreys soar on debut". BBC News. 2003-09-05. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  8. ^ http://www.ercrugby.com/eng/matchcentre/16651.php
  9. ^ Sport. "Heineken Cup Round-up". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  10. ^ 19:30. "Match Centre : Ospreys Have The Last Laugh". RaboDirectPRO12. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  11. ^ "WRU axe falls on Warriors". BBC News. 2004-06-01. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  12. ^ "Regions call to ex-Warriors". BBC News. 2004-07-07. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  13. ^ "Ospreys shun Brewery Field". BBC News. 2004-08-03. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  14. ^ "Ospreys 29-12 Edinburgh". BBC News. 2005-03-26. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  15. ^ 15:00. "ERC : Match Centre : Heineken Cup : Ospreys Take Points After Tense Thriller". Ercrugby.com. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  16. ^ "ERC : Match Centre : Heineken Cup : Tigers Snatch Late Victory". Ercrugby.com. 2006-02-07. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  17. ^ "Wallabies to face Ospreys". Sky Sports. Retrieved 16 August 2006. 
  18. ^ Rugby puts Ospreylia on the map WalesOnline, 28 October 2006
  19. ^ Ordnance Survey maps out special edition for 'Ospreylia' WalesOnline, 27 October 2006
  20. ^ Amazon found in the continent called Ospreylia WalesOnline, 17 April 2006
  21. ^ "Probably the best region in the World". Peter Black AM. Retrieved 6 September 2007. 
  22. ^ a b 10:46 GMT (2011-04-26). "BBC Sport - New role for Andrew Hore at the Ospreys". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  23. ^ "Celtic League – Jones leaves Ospreys". Yahoo! Sport UK & Ireland. 16 May 2008. Retrieved 16 May 2008. [dead link]
  24. ^ Club. "Jerry Collins signs for Ospreys". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  25. ^ "BBC Sport - Rugby Union - Biarritz 29-28 Ospreys". BBC News. 2010-04-10. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  26. ^ Petrie, Richard (2010-05-29). "Leinster 12–17 Ospreys". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  27. ^ 18:30 (2011-05-14). "Match Centre : Munster set up Limerick showdown with Leinster". RaboDirectPRO12. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  28. ^ 12:41 GMT (2012-02-15). "Steve Tandy replaces Sean Holley as Ospreys coach". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  29. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/18169721
  30. ^ Ospreys 24–16 Australia BBC Sport, 1 November 2006
  31. ^ Ospreys 50–24 Scarlets BBC Sport, 26 December 2006
  32. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2010/nov/12/lv-cup-ospreys-leicester
  33. ^ Competition Rule 3.5 "Summary of Key Rules". Pro12. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  34. ^ [1]
  35. ^ http://www.ercrugby.com/eng/elite/team_awards.php
  36. ^ http://www.ercrugby.com/eng/elite/fifty_tournament_caps.php

External links[edit]