INFO

CHAIRMAN’S OPENING REMARKS

The Chairman opened the meeting by setting out the key objectives of the OSC as set out in the Constitution.

He stated that some people believed that Members of the Committee simply turned up on match day and stood around in the Riverside and 2003 Lounge doing little else. This could not be further from the truth.

At this point the Chairman thanked his fellow Committee Members for their voluntary work and the hours they devote to the OSC.

He went on to say that everybody on the Committee had an important role and that all the work done was without payment or reward.

He confirmed that there was no financial assistance received from the Ospreys save for the supply of signed shirts and balls for raffle prizes.

There were no freebies nor benefits. Indeed, when buses were run, and functions organised, Committee Members paid the same price as all Supporters.

The Chairman advised the meeting that there were regular meetings with the Ospreys and there were on occasions, differences of opinion.

The Chairman confirmed that the Joint Supporters Group (JSG) continued to flourish and that meetings regularly took place with Martyn Phillips (Chief Executive WRU), Mark Davies (Chief Executive Pro Rugby Wales) and Martin Anayi (Chief Executive Guinness Pro 14 Rugby).

The meetings allow the four supporters groups to raise issues which they know supporters want aired.  When considering the amount of work undertaken by the Committee, it was extremely irritating for all concerned and indeed upsetting for some, when keyboard warriors take to social media to question the Committee’s integrity and motives.

The Chairman outlined the difficulties in organising social events due to the high price in Stadium use, unfortunately, the costs were prohibitive. The OSC were fortunate to have free use of the Pavilion in Llandarcy although numbers at that venue were limited.

It was hoped that a further Q & A would be arranged before the end of the year.

Finally, the Chairman referred to the new Supporters badge and the OSC’s support of Alun Wyn Jones’s charities during his testimonial year.

SECRETARY’S REPORT

The secretary began by thanking the chairman and the rest of the committee. He was a founder member along with Mike Phippen and was pleased that everything put in place at the start had come to fruition.

Grant Berni runs the Neath bus. Melanie and Nigel Maggs have until recently run the Port Talbot bus. They have had to stand down from that, but a group of supporters have taken over the running of the bus.

Five buses were organised for Judgement day and a bus was organised for the home/away fixture against Stade Francais.

It was Ray Morgan’s dream that we create something of a rugby club with a bit of post match atmosphere in the Riverside, hopefully we have gone some way to achieving that.

OSC contribution to the match day programme is down to the good work of Sarah Davies and Louise Collins.

The OSCA is another success, due to the fact that it can only be won and is not for sale, it is quite sought after by the players.

Badges are also popular with sales of old badges still popular.

AWJ was granted a testimonial year as a result of a request from the OSC.

Social media is also on the up, with nearly 10,000 followers on Twitter and 2,300 on Facebook.

The website is a great addition to the supporters club, Grant Berni doing a sterling job in setting that up and maintaining it.

The Q & A was well received by those who attended.

Finally the secretary said that he hoped the OSC worked for the benefit of all during the season.

TREASURER’S REPORT

Bank Account has a balance of £3124 after all Income and expenditure. If the sponsorship doesn’t materialise at least we have enough funds to cover the cost of the GROGGS this season.

The committee was grateful to Gower Brewery for their sponsorship of last seasons GROGGS. At this point in time we are unsure as to whether they are continuing their sponsorship.

The GROGGS have increased in price to £125, £500 to be sent to the GROGG shop to pay for the next four.

The OSC has had no funding from the Ospreys apart from the first year of their inception.

Last year the Ospreys paid for the badges with all proceeds going to Ospreys wheelchair rugby.  This year following a suggestion from the Chairman, the OSC decided to do something different, instead off OSC they were inscribed with AWJ, with all profit being donated to AWJ’s chosen charities.  The Ospreys for whatever reason can’t be seen to be supporting the testimonial year and therefore were unable to pay for the badges.  The OSC paid the £555 inclusive of VAT, the down side being we were unable to claim the VAT back.

Since the OSC’s inception we have supported many charities. Last season we raised £212 for Phil Lewis’s chosen charity, £280 for Aberavon Greenstars ,£1000 for the wheelchair rugby, and £200 for Interburns a charity that Jeff Hassler and Tylor Ardron were involved with.

Previous to these we have raised money for the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal, Cwmtawe Brass Band, Stepping Stones, Gleision Miners Appeal, St Davids Hospice, Maesteg RFC, Wales Deaf Rugby, Wales Wheelchair rugby,The Matavesi Fund, Jerry Collins Fund, and Paul Harris’s Marathon.

Total raised since the OSC’s inception is £8103.

AOB

Request received from Mark Bennett Jones re members of supporters club to assist with a promotional video 6pm on Wednesday.
OSC were asked their views on the 2003 club.  The change was going to be brought up with Andrew Millward, but his secretary had cancelled the meeting.  Our view was that the Ospreys had taken their eye of the ball as regards the ordinary supporter and that was a mistake.  Two members of the 2003 said that Andrew was very vocal during the Q&A and seemed to take their complaint re communication on board but they are still waiting for a reply.


The Ospreys have asked us to share the following information with supporters about the forthcoming Challenge Cup game(s). 

Please can you direct any queries directly to the Ospreys.
Email: hospitality@ospreysrugby.com
Tel: 01792 616488

 

As with all season long hospitality memberships; Quarter Finals and Semi Finals are not included however as a Worthington’s 2003 Club season long member you will be given priority to purchase your current hospitality package and also be given a 10% discount off the match by match price.

Worthington’s 2003 Club package;

  •   Access into Worthington’s 2003 Club
    •             Free pint or soft drink at every home game
  • Pre-match Q&A with Ospreys player
  • Complimentary match day programmes
  • Private cash bar in suite
  •      Complimentary halftime tea, coffee and Welsh cakes 

Normally £10pp

You Pay £9pp

We weren’t sure we could surpass last years effort so we’ve reigned in some help this festive season!

The advent calendar will sit on the Home page until the end of the month, but here it is in all it’s glory

 

And for those who missed the 2015 OSC Advent calendar – here it is again!

Wednesday 2nd November 2016 jsg

Liberty Stadium. Swansea

Attendees:
JSG representatives:
Cardiff Blues Supporters’ Club Sarah Hopkins and David Elsmere
Crys 16    Ian Lewis and Steve Hiscocks
Dragons Supporters’ Club Dan Hallett and Matt Andrews
Ospreys Supporters’ Club Nigel Jones, Keith Collins and Geoff Jones
Pro 12    Martin Anayi
Pro Rugby Wales  Mark Davies and Antonia Lamont

DISCUSSION 

AL opened the meeting at 6.45pm by welcoming everyone and thanking Martin for taking the time to do a return trip from London to Swansea to meet with JSG. Everyone present agreed that JSG would take the notes of the meeting for circulation to members afterwards. AL thanked JSG for their support for the recent derby games. AL ran through the list of questions that had been provided by JSG and their members in advance of the meeting and explained that they would either be picked up by MA and MD in discussion or could be specifically picked up by JSG.

MD echoed AL’s comments and said that PRW thought that meetings with the JSG was a constructive way to communicate on a two-way basis with supporters of regional rugby. MD confirmed that PRW as an ‘organisation’ consists of purely of one CEO and one Head of PR which is only contracted as a part time role – realistically and pragmatically with this resource the most effective way to communicate on complex issues is via the JSG – which is why, for example a conference call was arranged between all parties recently on the derby fixture scheduling.
MD thanked CBSC, OSC and DOSC for attending the meeting via phone conference the previous week which had been useful in setting the scene in advance of the recent derby games. MD confirmed that JSG will remain the primary means of communication on key issues as the official supporter network.

Martin Anayi, CEO of Guinness PRO12 (MA) introduced himself and said he welcomed the opportunity to meet with JSG. He explained that he had been working in his role with GuinnessPRO12 for 12 months and during that time a number of key changes had taken place to create a stand-alone organisation with a dedicated team of people recruited to solely focus on promotion and development of the PRO12 Championship – not 6N or British and Irish Lions.

He believed that this was already seeing real benefits for the Pro12, although it was still early days.
MA priority in starting the job was to do something that hadn’t really been looked at before, which was to look at the Guinness PRO12 from a customer’s perspective. The feedback from supporters had been reviewed and already good progress was being made against the supporter ‘wish list’ but it would take time to get it right.

One of the main areas of feedback given to PRO12 was relating the fixture scheduling. Sunday fixtures were universally unpopular and supporters wanted regular kick off times on Fridays and Saturdays. Substantial changes have been made in this area with SKY Sports being asked to give up their exclusivity to Saturday games as a result of fan feedback. JSG asked about the impact of KO times on families with less afternoon games making it difficult to bring children to games. MA said that in order to meet the very clear demand for less Sundays and standardised KO times, this had been an unfortunate outcome and one that needed to be considered going forward. JSG recognised that it wasn’t easy to please all stakeholders but asked that this be a topic for future discussion with the group.
MA and MD outlined the significant complexity and time taken to renegotiate and existing contracts to allow the fixture moves from Sunday to Saturday included detailed discussions with key broadcasters to satisfy all needs; a lot of work had taken place to standardise KO times out to round 13 – this is further than the English Premiership as they have one broadcast partner and PRO12 has 7.

The discussion turned to refereeing standards with JSG sharing several aspects of concern about the quality of officials and the impact that this was having on games and the supporter/player experience. MA stated that the other main issue raised by supporters to PRO12 in previous feedback and surveys was that of the officials. MA explained that whereas in England any issues with referees centered around the issue of capability (as all refs were English refereeing English teams) he had been concerned previously at the questioning of the integrity of officials in the PRO12 which seemed to be based on their nationality. Any such assertion, whether perceived or otherwise, would have the potential to have a negative impact on the championship.  PRO12 had spoken extensively to all of the coaches last season who they had said that their main concern was that of quality of officiating, which was more important to them than neutrality at this point.

MA and MD explained the first priority for coaches was that PRO12 referees were deemed to have the right capability levels above and beyond merely being neutral appointments (as it was previously). Therefore based on the coaches feedback, PRO12 took the first step of creating neutral TMO’s and AR1’s (first touch judge). This has been achieved and significant cost covered by additional sponsorship so no impact to distribution to Clubs. Referee development key item but, like players, cannot develop referees overnight. Review of season to date taking place end Nov which will include referee appointments, decisions and development needs as well as assessment process.

JSG asked about the development of referees and MD confirmed that Ireland and Wales were already well on with developing a good pathway for officials.  MA and MD outlined that Ireland and Wales have mature competition structures that allow development and fast tracking of referees across multiple competitions. They are now including Scottish and Italian development referees in those pathways to fast track new referees. PRO12 now has a defined Development Group of referees from the 4 countries with a focus on fast track.

JSG noted that a detailed discussion had taken place the previous week with MD about scheduling, and the recent derbies and a full explanation given. However, given the questions and feedback from supporters, JSG asked for further comment from MA.

MA explained that it was a very complex process with all 12 clubs submitting individual requests to the tournament director in May (this might for example include the Welsh regions requesting a specific weekend for Judgment Day). Then any stadium restrictions had to be accounted for.  MD added that this was particularly complicated in Wales due to two of the stadia being affected by football (Ospreys and Dragons) and one being affected by events at the Principality Stadium (BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park).

By the end of May, all clubs requests are taken into account as the Tournament Director creates a draft schedule. In June, once the Football fixtures are released, all stakeholders in the competition clubs, unions, broadcasters are provided with the weekend schedule for formal agreement at the end of June.

The next step is for the broadcasters to make their ‘picks’ – their requests and this season the impact of the requests from PRO12 supporters for less Sundays and more standardised fixture times had to be negotiated into the contracts. This is then circulated back to the clubs who feed back to the Tournament Director for formal sign-off mid-July.   A two-week gap is then given before public announcement to allow Team Managers to book travel. The ‘Big Weekends’ approach as an exciting and vital new development in the competition to raise profile and effectiveness as a Championship was agreed by all Stakeholders in May; but dates have to be agreed across all 4 countries – ie Judgement Day date has to be agreed by Ireland to ensure Irish derbies take place same weekend and vice versa if any requests from Ireland/Scotland/Wales.

Big Weekend at round 7 agreed and signed off by all parties end June, so everyone involved missed the implication of overlap with call up window in Wales and MA and MD apologised to supporters that had been unhappy with R7 schedule although they outlined that the call up window in Ireland also overlapped but there had been no issue in Ireland.  MD outlined that it was positive that the derby weekend had seen strong crowds and two great games of rugby from the wider squad players entertaining supporters without all internationals being available. MA pointed out that if the round had been inter-Union then Welsh regions would have been up against full strength Scottish or Italian sides who did not have the additional international weekend call up.

JSG thanked MA for his honesty and said that this openness with the wider supporter network previously might have prevented some of the comments posted on social media. MD said that PRW and PRO12 both feel strongly about being open with supporters and per the previous week’s discussions, the primary focus was to support the Clubs in the build-up to the important derby fixtures and to project the positive aspects of these games. JSG were supportive of this position as had been agreed at the previous meeting.

MA went on to say that there was now a bigger commercial balance between club championship and international levels and that both recognised that there were mutual benefits for success in both arenas, from a rugby perspective and a commercial one. MD said that the current relationship between the regions and WRU had been transformed over the last 12 months and that it was now much more of a partnership approach to rugby and commercial activity.

MD outlined that particularly in Wales, for the success of Welsh rugby, club and international rugby are completely inter-reliant.  MD emphasised the complete ‘partnership’ approach is currently working well in Welsh Rugby.

JSG asked about the move to an improved season structure. MA said that all parties recognised the need for less games in the season and that this was a hot topic everywhere. MD said that contractual arrangements were in place until 2019 and there was lots of work behind the scenes on developing options to plug the commercial gap that would inevitably be left by less international fixtures.

JSG asked about the value of continuing to have the Italian teams in the GuinnessPRO12. MD said that all aspects of the ‘product’ had to perform and if any area was not contributing or was affecting the quality or integrity of the championship, then that would be reviewed. MA said that the Italian market for rugby was generally struggling and PRO12 were active in trying to help them develop commercially. There are also participation agreements that had to be honoured.

JSG asked how PRO12 was considering its uniqueness (4 nations clubs) as a selling point and point of growth. MA said it was important that the PRO12 did not shrink but that it grew, and a discussion was had about the great opportunities supporters had to travel within this competitions, although logistics and costs could be prohibitive.

JSG asked whether there were plans to expand the PRO12 championship. MA said that standing still or going backwards was not an option and that PRO12 had to look to grow.  MD added that PRO12 was equally being pursued by other parties. His view was that this was inevitable given that there were only 4 professional leagues and two of those are ringfenced.

JSG asked whether expansion would be likely by adding a development league and MA said that this was not on the agenda as improving quality was of key importance. This was currently an issue with others seeking a place in the PRO12 as even countries such as the USA and Canada don’t have a substantial structure in place as yet.

MD said that another advantage of the PRO12 was how flexible and open to change the participants were.

MA said that wage inflation remained a big factor in our game and that although revenues are increasing, wage inflation in still increasing at a faster rate, although there had been discussions at EPCR recently about this issue.

JSG asked about future TV deals and when the next one would be negotiated. MA said that the next cycle of deals starts in the 18/19 season and so this means going back to market in around April 2017. PRO12 are currently working on agreeing our proposition and packages so that we can place ourselves to get the best commercial deals. MD said that previously the PRO12 had not been sold as an exciting ‘product’ and a lot of good, positive work was going on behind the scenes in this area.

MA said that the recent improvements in attendances, TV viewership and digital engagement was helping the brand and the product which should, in the longer term, drive more investment in the PRO12.

AL said that the PRO12 would be seeking to engage with supporters again via survey to gain more feedback on the competition and would work with JSG to get detailed feedback from their memberships to inform PRO12 and PRW on the specific views of supporters in Wales; to help shape and focus forward activity to help provide the best possible customer experience for supporters of the PRO12 competition.

AL said that she would work with JSG to arrange a wider consultation session for the members of CBSC, Crys 16, DoSC and OSC in early 2017 and thanked everyone for attending.

JSG thanked MA, MD and AL for their time and for the frank and constructive discussions, reiterating that this was a great format to jointly discuss and communicate relevant issues on behalf of members and the wider supporters base.

Meeting closed at 9pm.

2016-10-tips-totmCongratulations to Justin Tipuric on winning the October try of the month vote (and possibly the World Forwards Try of the Epoch)!
We’re massively lucky to have such an amazing talent at the Ospreys and this try was the overwhelming winner in a month where the team ran in an amazing 23 tries.

If you want to watch the shortlisted tries again , click here

2016-daf-howellsCongratulations to Dafydd Howells on a landslide victory in the September try of the month vote.  Daf’s magical finish will be one to remember for a long time.

Try of the Month September 2016

  • 11. Dafydd Howells vs Treviso (60%, 99 Votes)
  • 12. Keelan Giles vs Treviso (16%, 26 Votes)
  • 10. Dan Evans vs Treviso (8%, 13 Votes)
  • 3. Dafydd Howells vs Zebre (5%, 9 Votes)
  • 9. Jeff Hassler vs Treviso (2%, 4 Votes)
  • 1. Lloyd Ashley vs Zebre (1%, 2 Votes)
  • 14. James King vs Leinster (1%, 2 Votes)
  • 7. Ben John vs Treviso (1%, 2 Votes)
  • 6. Jeff Hassler vs Connacht (1%, 2 Votes)
  • 5. Rhys Webb vs Connacht (1%, 2 Votes)
  • 2. Ben John vs Zebre (1%, 2 Votes)
  • 8. Sam Parry vs Treviso (1%, 1 Votes)
  • 4. Ben John vs Zebre (0%, 0 Votes)
  • 13. Ben John vs Leinster (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 164

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2016-08-12 23.56.26The OSC and Ospreys Rugby have agreed that this season, the new 2017-17 OSC badge will be used to raise funds for Ospreys Wheelchair Rugby.

The badges won’t be issued free of charge to season ticket holders but will be sold for just £1 and all proceeds will go directly to Ospreys Wheelchair Rugby.

The badges will be available to buy from the OSC committee members at the Riverside Bar on match days starting on 12th August (the shirt launch and pre season friendly against the Leicester Tigers) when the Wheelchair Rugby team will be putting on a demonstration in the Supporters Village.

2016 08 OWR01

Notes of the meeting of the regional Joint Supporters Group and Welsh Rugby Union
Tuesday 26th July 2016, 5pm
Principality Stadium

Attendees
Martyn Phillips, Chief Executive, Welsh Rugby Union
Gareth Davies, Chairman, Welsh Rugby Union
Cardiff Blues Supporters’ Club , Sarah Hopkins and David Elsmere
Crys 16 Trust, Barrie Jones and Ian Lewis
Dragons Supporters’ Club, Brad Hayward and Ryan Price
Ospreys Supporters’ Club, Grant Berni and Melanie Maggs

Notes of the discussion topics
JSG thanked MP for the opportunity for this latest meeting and confirmed that an agenda had been sent in advance with a note of the discussion topics, but that it was also an opportunity for a general discussion to raise issues and feedback on behalf of regional supporters.

JSG asked for an update on the WRU plans for the forthcoming season:

  • Club and Regional engagement will be an ongoing focus, with the WRU seeking a more collaborative approach encompassing things such as coaching, skills, digital presence and sponsorship
  • Judgment Day 5 was scheduled for Easter Sunday and the WRU had taken on board supporter feedback from past JD’s and general fixture timings. JSG thanked MP for the work that the WRU had done alongside PRW to get a more sensible fixture list for season 2016/17. Consideration had been given to changing the JD fixtures with different teams facing each other but the regions had been keen to retain the local derbies over the Christmas period.
  • MP confirmed that seating allocations for ST holders were within the control of the regions and feedback/requests regarding this would be better made to them directly. A discussion had also taken place about the possibility of a second JD event at Christmas but again the regions had decided that this would affect traditional derbies.
  • JSG asked MP about the timing during the season and collectively they felt that moving it to start of the season would encourage new supporters to come to regional games – however the Principality Stadium doesn’t have grass until October due to other events.
  • The WRU digital strategy was progressing well with the WRU working with the regions to help them target new audiences. They are keen to develop and launch more of their own content rather than relying on local media, and consider content such as coaching videos.

JSH asked for an update in the strategy and engagement with the Board. GD confirmed that this was complication with lots of stakeholders involved but that progress was being made.

JSG enquired as to WRU actions to bridge the income gap from TV between Pro12 & English/French leagues. MP confirmed that all options were being explored by all parties – WRU, Pro 12 and PRW. He said that he felt that a full B&I league was not an option at this stage due to the desire of other parties who are happy with their financial and commercial deals.

JSG asked about future plans for National Dual Contracts as some felt that they had not been equally distributed among the regions. MP said that during his tenure they had focused purely on retaining and repatriating the ‘first 15’. He expressed his disappointment that Toby Faletau had not been successfully retained.

JSG asked what the WRU view on the current season structure was with regards to the balance of player welfare versus the requirement to generate income and honour commercial agreements.

MP said that the recent visit to NZ was very informative in this respect and that there is a real desire in Wales to improve the season structure. However, there are a number of key players and not all are in the same place. To move to a global season would be ideal – but it’s just not that simple as it would require radical change.

JSG said that the recent use of Welsh Language by the FAW had been such a success which had been impressive and asked what the WRU was doing to improve its use of Welsh. GD said that the WRU Senior Team was full of Welsh speakers who were passionate about use of the language and that lessons could be learned from the FAW. MP said that this was under review, that WRU had probably produced more content than FAW but had not been as consistent and creative. He stated that a sustainable Welsh Language policy and action plan would be implemented as part of the wider digital strategy, and part of this would be resource and embed the policy consistently.

A question was asked about the on-going structure of the 4 professional teams and MP confirmed that there were no plans to suggest or move towards a merger or relocation of any of the existing teams.

MP thanked JSG members for their professionalism and ongoing support, and JSG thanks MP and GD for their engagement and time. A further meeting would be planned in approximately six months time.

Meeting ended at 6.40pm