Ospreys (rugby team)

Union Welsh Rugby Union
Founded 2003 (2003)
Location Swansea, Wales
Ground(s) Liberty Stadium (Capacity: 20,827)
Chairman Geoff Atherton
Coach(es) Steve Tandy
Captain(s) Alun Wyn Jones
Most caps Duncan Jones (223)
Top scorer Dan Biggar (1,916)
Most tries Shane Williams (57)
League(s) Guinness Pro12
2015–16 8th
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website

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 Guinness 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 Welsh 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]


Cardiff Blues
Llanelli Scarlets
The Ospreys
Newport Gwent Dragons

The 4 Welsh Rugby Union Regions of Wales


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'.


The 2004–05 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 2005–06, 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 A national rugby union team 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.


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 seventh-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 2007–08 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]


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 a 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]


Season records

Celtic League / Pro12

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[n 1]
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
2013–14 5th 22 13 1 8 6 66
2014–15 3rd 22 16 1 5 8 74
Semi-final Munster 21 – 18 Ospreys
  1. 11 teams were involved in this season, so one team did not play each week and were awarded 4 points instead.
    Therefore, each team finished the season with 8 more points than the table would seem to warrant.

Celtic Cup

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

Heineken Cup / Rugby Champions Cup

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
2013–14 Pool 1 4th 6 1 0 5 1 5
2014–15 Pool 5 3rd 6 1 0 5 0 4

Anglo-Welsh Cup

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
2013–14 Pool 3 2nd 4 1 0 3 2 6
2014–15 Pool 4 2nd 4 1 0 3 1 6

Home grounds

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 'A' team (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]

Kit suppliers

From their foundation to the 2013–14 season, the Ospreys kit suppliers were Kooga. Since the 2014–15 season, BLK have supplied the Ospreys kits.

The kit is supplied by BLK. On the front of the shirt, BT Sport is at the centre while OSTC Foreign Exchange at the top left with Herbalife at the far top left and Symltech at the far top right. GRWP NPTC Group and Dryhouse (underneath said Energy Efficiency - Protect - Repair) appear on their left sleeve while Swansea University or below Prifysgol Abertawe appeared on the right sleeve. On the back of the shirt, Evening Post and Worthington's appear at the top while OFSTFX.COM Foreign Exchange and South Wales Wood Recycling appear at the bottom. FIOL appear on the right of their front shorts while Ledwood appeared at the top of their back shorts which stated at the top "Engineering Excellence' while Financial Group WPS appeared on the left of their back shorts while Cityjet appeared on the right of their back shorts.

Current standings

2015–16 Pro12
Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Diff Tries For Tries Against Try Bonus Losing Bonus Points
1 Ireland Leinster (RU) 22 16 0 6 458 290 +168 51 27 6 3 73
2 Ireland Connacht (CH) 22 15 0 7 507 406 +101 60 46 8 5 73
3 Scotland Glasgow Warriors (SF) 22 14 1 7 557 380 +177 68 37 8 6 72
4 Ireland Ulster (SF) 22 14 0 8 488 307 +181 61 29 8 5 69
5 Wales Scarlets 22 14 0 8 477 458 +19 45 54 2 5 63
6 Ireland Munster 22 13 0 9 459 417 +42 56 36 6 5 63
7 Wales Cardiff Blues 22 11 0 11 542 461 +81 62 53 5 7 56
8 Wales Ospreys 22 11 1 10 490 455 +35 55 49 6 3 55
9 Scotland Edinburgh 22 11 0 11 405 366 +39 41 36 2 8 54
10 Wales Newport Gwent Dragons 22 4 0 18 353 492 −139 33 57 0 10 26
11 Italy Zebre 22 5 0 17 308 718 −410 35 99 3 1 24
12 Italy Benetton Treviso 22 3 0 19 320 614 −294 35 79 0 8 20
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) were play-off places, and earned places in the 2016–17 European Rugby Champions Cup.
Blue background indicates teams outside the play-off places that earned places in the European Rugby Champions Cup.
To facilitate the 2015 Rugby World Cup, there were no play-offs for the 2016–17 European Rugby Champions Cup; the 20th place went to the winner of the 2015–16 European Rugby Challenge Cup if not already qualified. Because Challenge Cup winner Montpellier qualified via the Top 14, its place passed to the top team from that league not already qualified.
Plain background indicates teams that earned a place in the 2016–17 European Rugby Challenge Cup.

    Current squad

    For player movements leading up to the 2016–17 season, see List of 2016–17 Pro12 transfers § Ospreys.

    2016–17 Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

    Player Position Union
    Scott Baldwin Hooker Wales Wales
    Hugh Gustafson Hooker Wales Wales
    Scott Otten Hooker Wales Wales
    Sam Parry Hooker Wales Wales
    Dmitri Arhip Prop Moldova Moldova
    Maʻafu Fia Prop Tonga Tonga
    Paul James Prop Wales Wales
    Alex Jeffries (d) Prop Wales Wales
    Rowan Jenkins (d) Prop Wales Wales
    Rhodri Jones Prop Wales Wales
    Nicky Smith Prop Wales Wales
    Dan Suter Prop Wales Wales
    Gareth Thomas Prop Wales Wales
    Lloyd Ashley Lock Wales Wales
    Adam Beard Lock Wales Wales
    Bradley Davies Lock Wales Wales
    Alun Wyn Jones(c) Lock Wales Wales
    Rhys Jones (d) Lock Wales Wales
    James Ratti (d) Lock Wales Wales
    Rory Thornton Lock Wales Wales
    Tyler Ardron Flanker Canada Canada
    Olly Cracknell Flanker Wales Wales
    Will Jones (d) Flanker Wales Wales
    James King Flanker Wales Wales
    Dan Lydiate Flanker Wales Wales
    Rob McCusker Flanker Wales Wales
    Justin Tipuric Flanker Wales Wales
    Joe Tomalin-Reeves (d) Flanker Wales Wales
    Sam Underhill Flanker England England
    Dan Baker Number 8 Wales Wales
    Joe Bearman* Number 8 England England
    Charlie Davies (d) Number 8 Wales Wales
    Player Position Union
    Matthew Aubrey (d) Scrum-half Wales Wales
    Tom Habberfield Scrum-half Wales Wales
    Brendon Leonard Scrum-half New Zealand New Zealand
    Rueben Morgan-Williams (d) Scrum-half Wales Wales
    Rhys Webb Scrum-half Wales Wales
    Dan Biggar Fly-half Wales Wales
    Sam Davies Fly-half Wales Wales
    Phil Jones (d) Fly-half Wales Wales
    Luke Price (d) Fly-half Wales Wales
    Ashley Beck Centre Wales Wales
    Kieron Fonotia Centre New Zealand New Zealand
    Ben John Centre Wales Wales
    Josh Matavesi Centre Fiji Fiji
    Jonathan Spratt Centre Wales Wales
    Joe Thomas (d) Centre Wales Wales
    Owen Watkin Centre Wales Wales
    Kieran Williams (d) Centre Wales Wales
    Jay Baker (d) Wing Wales Wales
    Hanno Dirksen* Wing South Africa South Africa
    Keelan Giles Wing Wales Wales
    Tom Grabham Wing Wales Wales
    Jeff Hassler Wing Canada Canada
    Dafydd Howells Wing Wales Wales
    Tom O'Flaherty (d) Wing Wales Wales
    Eli Walker Wing Wales Wales
    Dan Evans Fullback Wales Wales

    Coaching staff

    Andrew Millward (Managing Director)
    Steve Tandy (Head Coach)
    Chris Gibbes (Forwards Coach)
    Gruff Rees (Backs Coach)
    Brad Davis (Defence Coach)
    Tom Smith (Skills Coach)
    Richard Fussell (Skills Coach)
    Duncan Jones (Skills Coach)
    Andrew Bishop (Skills Coach)
    Daniel Griffiths (Development Manager)
    Chris Towers (Medical Performance Manager)
    Simon Davies (Lead Doctor)
    Ed Holden (Physio)
    Matthew Bowen (Physio)
    Anthony Carter (Physio)
    Johnny Claxton (Head of Strength & Conditioning)
    Kevin Morgan (Strength & Conditioning)
    Shaun McAuliffe (Kit Custodian)
    Andy Lloyd (Recruitment & Welfare Manager)
    Craig Maloney (Senior Analyst)
    Craig Whelan (Senior Analyst)
    Jon Williams (Dietician)
    Stephen Mellalieu (Sports Psychologist)
    Dai Davies (Team Logistics Manager)

    Notable players & coaches

    British and Irish Lions

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


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

    Notable Non-Welsh Players

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

    Former coaches

    ERC Elite Awards

    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 [34]

    Ospreys players who have been awarded 50 tournament caps are:[35]

    See also


    1. 1 2 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". London: 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 (1 February 2004). "Heineken Cup Round-up". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
    10. "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. "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. 1 2 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.
    24. Club (10 May 2009). "Jerry Collins signs for Ospreys". London: 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. "Match Centre : Munster set up Limerick showdown with Leinster". RaboDirectPRO12. 2011-05-14. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
    28. 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. "Kristian Phillips inspires Ospreys to victory over Leicester Tigers". The Guardian. London. 12 November 2010.
    33. Competition Rule 3.5 "Summary of Key Rules". Pro12. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
    34. http://www.ercrugby.com/eng/elite/team_awards.php
    35. http://www.ercrugby.com/eng/elite/fifty_tournament_caps.php
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