INFO

As we mentioned in the Saracens programme, this season we will be supporting Swansea Gladiators, as our sponsored charity. Below is a short description of the ethos and function of the Gladiators;  I am sure that once you have read it, you will have nothing but admiration for the work that the volunteers running the club undertake.

Once again, thanks for the generosity that both Ospreys and visiting supporters have shown in supporting our efforts to date!

We will hand over to Matthew Germine, one of the coaches , who will explain why the Gladiators exist and some of the activities they enjoy!

The Swansea Gladiators were formed in 1991 at Fforestfach Day Centre, when a young man who was using the service, saw some of the support staff throwing a rugby ball around on their break, asked a very simple question –

“can I play rugby too?”

Over the next few months, what started out as just passing a ball around at break time, evolved into structured training sessions with tangible benefits for everyone involved.  Our first game against a “Veteran select XV”, in a few short months’ people had gone from being told that they couldn’t play rugby because of their disability to saying I will play rugby because of my ability!

With a strong focus on the social aspect of rugby,  the Gladiators has become a vessel for developing people’s interpersonal skills and physical characteristics. We have been fortunate to have hundreds of people play for us to date – each of them add something different to the club and each of them benefits in a different way too.

During our first 29 years we have we have been based at a few different clubs including Waunarlwydd RFC, Gowerton RFC and, since 2001, Swansea Uplands RFC.  Without this support The Swansea Gladiators may not have had the impact that it has had.

We have been on many tours – something that some of our players may not have had the opportunity to do previously – including biennial trips to Ireland and Scotland during the Six Nations, to Canada in 2010.

In 2017 we  visited the Basque Country and participated in the most recent International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament (IMART), where we finished 5th!   We will be travelling to Cork, Ireland for the next instalment of IMART in June 2020 where we hope to go four better!

We train twice a week – every Tuesday at Swansea RFC and Thursday at Swansea Uplands RFC with an average of 20 participants who push themselves and challenge preconceptions every time they lace up their boots.

Our club motto is Friendship through sport, and we try and base everything that we do to achieve it.  Many thanks to you, the Ospreys supporters for supporting us this season!

Our friend Liz Mellor passed away suddenly and unexpectedly as just 36 years old.  Liz was a huge Ospreys supporter and was one of the most energetic and happiest people you could meet  – she lit up a rugby stadium, let alone a room with her presence.

Liz collapsed and died after suffering with a bad cough and chest over the Christmas period and leaves behind her husband Mike, as well as three beautiful children.

Liz’s friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral costs and to support the family financially during this difficult time.

You can donate here.

Representatives of the Ospreys Supporters Club committee and Ospreys Rugby met to discuss various issues that have arisen in recent weeks.

We raised the manner in which the forum was shut down and the Ospreys acknowledge that it could have been handled differently in retrospect.

Going forward, we have agreed that the Ospreys will run 2-3 Q&A sessions each season along with the Q&A sessions run by the OSC committee. This will provide regular opportunities for supporters to engage directly with management and players.

There will also be closer liaison between the Ospreys and the committee going forward to ensure improved lines of communication and open discussion.

The OSC committee will continue to represent all season ticket members and we value any input from members.

To contact the committee, please use the contact form or email address on the link here

 

#ourbloodisblack

Following the very recent upgrade to the official Ospreys Rugby website at ospreysrugby.com , we understand that the fans forum has been dropped.  At our last committee meeting in October, a member of the Ospreys management team informed us of the pending website update and of the intention to drop the fans forum.

The OSC agreed with the Ospreys that vehicles for interaction with fellow supporters and the Ospreys have progressed since forums were first introduced and that Social Media platforms are currently the way forward.  At its peak, the forum was a great place to hang out and was used by a lot of supporters (OK, users, not all of them were ospreys supporters!) but over time the place became a lot quieter as people moved onto newer platforms.

We have no plans to host a forum on this website at present as we feel that the way forward in terms of talking to fellow supporters, Ospreys management and players(!), that facebook and twitter offer great solutions.  If you don’t have a twitter or facebook account, then its no different to creating a fans forum account – you can remain anonymous if you like (as do a lot of twitter users in general).  Also, the OSC is run by volunteers and we cannot offer the level of moderation required to guarantee that a forum hosted on this website would be a safe and welcoming environment for all users in the same way that the former ospreys forum was moderated.  This was done by one great individual who is probably known to most Ospreys Supporters whether they used the forum or not!

Some forum stats:

Total posts 215,172
Total topics 10,112
Total members 11,871

Most users ever online 326 on Monday 21st May 2012 during the week building up to our last Pro12 title

In terms of links to social media accounts run by the Ospreys or the OSC, click on the links below, or if you want to contact the OSC committee and don’t want to use social media, please use the Contact Form on this website.

The forums are dead, long live social media! (until facebook and twitter get overtaken by something else!)

Ospreys on facebook

OSC on facebook

Ospreys on twitter

OSC on twitter

For those who still like a good old fashioned forum, a keen supporter has set up their own unofficial fans forum.  This is not run, endorsed, moderated or sponsored by the OSC, but if you want to give it a go, click here

We’ve talked about the forum(s) with Paul Whapham, Ospreys Business General Manager (15th November) and will be meeting with the Ospreys next week.  Paul has asked us to share the following statement with supporters to help explain recent events.

The Ospreys understand that we should have notified supporters on the forum that it would be closing down within a sufficient time. However, since the end of June there were changes made by the company who developed the Forum leaving the Ospreys with no way of accessing any information. The Ospreys were unable to post, moderate or add new users to the forum, rendering it unusable from our end

 

 

The Ospreys Supporters Cub’s Annual General Meeting will take place at 18:30, Monday 16th September at the Liberty Stadium.

All OSC members (season ticket holders) are invited to attend and to stand for election to the committee should they wish to do so (providing conditions laid out in the constitution are met – see the link below). If you have the energy, committment and the skills to contribute to the OSC, please email grant@ospreyssupportersclub.com to find out more or to submit an application to join the committee.

Further details about the AGM and committee can be found here in the OSC constitution

 

 

As a friend and sponsor of the OSC, Peter Benjamin is offering a fantastic deal to supporters.

 

 

 

Ospreys Reward Card

In Association with P B SERVICES 

Garage Equipment Company and Swansea Tyre Clutch and MOT Centre

We are offering a unique opportunity exclusive to the Ospreys Staff,Family, Friends, Commercial Partners and Supporters for massive reductions in repair costs for their vehicles, we are offering:-

MOT’S at £19.00

20% discount on labour costs effectively making them Trade rates

20% discount on a 3D laser wheel alignment machine

Courtesy car if vehicle left for work to be carried out

Competitive rates for fuel and engine treatments

Reduced rates for wrong fuel call outs

Massive reductions on service costs

We carried out our first work on this scheme on Friday the customers bill normally for the repair would have been £554.00 under this scheme it was £335.00

This scheme is unique and is open to all Osprey staff, family members, friends commercial partners and supporters just by ringing the garage booking the vehicle in and quoting OSP1, this offer is now live 

We are an AA and RAC approved garage 

Peter Benjamin

General Manager

Get in Touch
Telephone: 01792 477 555

Email: service@swanseatyres.co.uk

Website: https://www.swanseatyres.co.uk/

Postal Address: Unit C, SA1 Business Park, Swansea, SA1 8QY
**USE POSTCODE SA1 8LD in SAT NAV**

Attendees:

Cardiff Blues Supporters’ Club Sarah Hopkins, Catherine Smart, David Elsmere

CRYS16 Barrie Jones, Ian Lewis, Gareth Payne

Dragons Official Supporters’ Club Dan Hallett, Ryan Price

Ospreys Supporters’ Club Nigel Jones, Grant Berni, Lynne Jones

Welsh Rugby Union Martyn Phillips, Mark Killingley

 

Agenda:

  1. Update on Project Reset and the way forward
  2. Player retention/pay bands
  3. Communication from this meeting
  4. Any Other Business

 

SH thanked MP and MK for meeting with the JSG so soon after the last meeting. It was acknowledged that things had changed reasonably substantially since the last meeting and that updates from PRB statements had confirmed the change in position.

 

1 – Update on Project Reset

MP said that it was no longer deemed to be ‘Project Reset’ as the new legal agreement was now in place and was no longer a project. Future reference should be made to the Professional Rugby Strategy which covered the five Professional Entities (the four regions and the WRU).

PRB were focussed on doing right thing for the game and whilst it was agreed that the current position was ‘business as usual’, the facts remain that transformational change is required to enable 4 professional teams in change to be sustainable and competitive.

JSG asked whether consideration had been given to the appointment of a Supporter Director on the PRB. MP said that this wasn’t really on the agenda and that the focus was on appointment of non-exec Directors as they can bring required skills to the board. In addition, it was not possible to make room for all stakeholder representatives on the PRB – e.g. the players also wanted representation which had resulted in far more regular dialogue between the PRB and the Players association (WRPA) and the players themsleves. He confirmed that members of the PRB have fiduciary duties.

 

However, it was noted that PRB wanted and needed to take the views and feedback from supporters into account, and that the JSG would be the preferred option to do this more formally and on a regular basis together with supporter forums at local level.

MP went on to say that since 2016, there had been an increase in funding from WRU to the regions from £10 to £20m. This totalled around £32m when competition income was included to the four regions, in addition to the clubs’ commercial and ticketing income generated locally. Whilst the improvement is welcome there remains much to do with the 5 entities working interdependently.

There was a detailed discussion in respect of the supporter experience and ticketing. MK said that the research seemed to suggest that the price of season tickets were too low but that the overall price point on match tickets was about right. One of the key requirements for all regions was to drive attendances up. There was agreement from all that regions could and should do better – but under resourced in commercial departments.

JSG pointed out that the structure of the season was not helpful and with regular changes from International periods to league and Europe, the season tended to lose momentum. MP acknowledged that this was a difficult position which was under constant review. MP confirmed that there is Private Equity interest in the PRO14, but that this was primarily a matter for the PRB to consider.

JSG representatives raised some frustrations about regional teams not using players to better leverage their brand and start to build on international successes back in the local areas.  

JSG and WRU agreed that a lot of the media articles written about the regions seemed to have a negative spin – intended to ‘create a good headline’ – which was undermining the hard work being undertaken by the regions and not encouraging people who were not already committed to regional rugby to have a desire to attend. As an example of this, MP handed out a copy of a graph showing the increased funding given to the Regions by the WRU. Funding had doubled since 2016.

MP reminded JSG that there were seven agreed key indicators of success for the regions, Including:

  • Welsh International players
  • Youth Development and Academy
  • Management structure / coaching / governance
  • Community
  • Marketing

Work is ongoing on a formula based funding model going forward to better link funding to these areas of success.

A question was asked about the commercial structure:

Rugby Board – Team Managers from regions and Head Coaches

Business Board – tasked with reducing costs, leveraging economies of scale and increasing income.

 

2 – Player Retention and Pay Bands

JSG asked about the recent departures of promising young players and whether the changes to the pay bands were preventing the retention of key talent. MP said that, whilst he was not prepared to discuss individual players, some wanted to seek a different experience and that pay bands were not a factor in their decisions.

JSG asked whether regions were able to ‘top-up’ the pay bandings offered to individual players – thus encouraging players to choose one region over another. MP confirmed that this was allowed, but only to the top of the relevant banding which have been agreed by the Regions and WRPA. There was a further discussion about the perceived value of a player being different to different regions based on their depth in that particular position. MP confirmed that the reason for a band with a lower and upper limit was to cater for this eventuality.

The discussion moved onto whether the first season of working with Premier Sports had been deemed a success for the Pro 14. MP said that feedback seemed positive and that he understood viewing figures for the coverage to be broadly in line with that experienced by the BBC when all games are taken into account. He reminded JSG that BBC did not formally bid to cover the Pro 14. JSG members said that the coverage was good and it was encouraging to see decent exposure on regional rugby, as national media outlets traditionally focused on Team Wales. MP agreed and indicated that the PRB were increasing its focus on exposure for the Professional rugby brands in 2019 onwards.

MP agreed that the focus from the media on Team Wales did not help the regions and that he would prefer to see more balanced coverage. He said that there was work to do to educate many people attending Wales games that the team were successful because of, and not in spite of, the regional teams.

The Union is working with Regions in an effort to cut costs across the board. Savings are being made by agreeing deals where all Regions use the one travel company for travelling arrangements. Kit sponsorship is also being considered, but currently Regions have arrangements in place which end at different times.

 

3 – Communication from this meeting

Notes of the meeting would be produced by JSG and circulated to the group prior to publishing to members.

 

4 – AOB

There was no other business and it was agreed that the group would meet again in a few months – date tbc.

 

This morning, members of the OSC committee met with Andrew Millward (managing director), Peter Owen (media manager), Adam Palfrey (commercial manager),  Paul Wapham (OiTC).

We discussed the concerns of supporters based on rumours, speculation and conflicting press statements.

To this end, we were advised that a Q&A evening has been arranged for season ticket holders which will be held at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday 12th March (full details on Ospreys website here ).  This will be an opportunity for season ticket holders to put questions to Andrew Millward, Allan Clarke and representatives from the Ospreys board of directors.

It is apparent to the OSC committee that statements released by Scarlets Rugby and PRB were misleading and did not accord with that said at a meeting with the WRU/PRB last Monday attended by members of the OSC committee and other members of the JSG (Joint Supporters Group).   Accordingly, as a committee, we fully support the Ospreys board in the decisions taken to date and for the way forward.

We would urge supporters to attend Tuesday’s Q&A and ignore the speculation and ill informed comments appearing on social media.

As a committee, we will continue to work closely with the Ospreys management and ensure that supporters are kept informed of all developments at the earliest opportunity.

We fully encourage everybody to turn up for the final home game of the season against the Dragons on 23rd March and show your support.

#ourbloodisblack

Yesterday, representatives of the Joint Supporters Group which includes Cardiff Blues Supporters Club , Dragons Official Supporters Club, Ospreys Supporters and Crys 16 met with the Chief Exec of the WRU, Martyn Phillips along with Ryan Jones – both who sit on the PRB.

The update we received was completely in line with what’s been reported in the media before today.

It would now seem that the situation has dramatically changed in light of reported events and the statement via the Ospreys today, and the subsequent statement by PRB which confirms what we were told yesterday.

We were assured that the recommendation to proceed with 4 regions based in the North, South, West and East of Wales was agreed unanimously by all PRB representatives which includes the Chairs of each of our regional Boards. We were assured that the proposed changes are financially focused and aim to tap into new markets both on and off the field, as well as evolve the regional structure to one which is more future proofed than the existing model. This of course would have a huge impact for the Ospreys and Scarlets.

Last night we expressed our sadness and anger at the disregard for existing supporters who have been deemed ‘expendable’ when compared to a potential new market. Members from OSC and Crys 16 passionately explained the impact they felt this would have on them and the wider supporter base of the Ospreys and Scarlets. CBSC and DOSC fully supported this position.

We also expressed our complete disappointment on behalf of all supporters of professional rugby in Wales at the lack of communication during the discussions over the last few months regarding ‘Project Reset’. This was recognized by Martyn and Ryan who said that it was difficult to communicate when positions and decisions were changing by the day.

Members of the JSG are united in the belief that regional rugby supporters have largely been ignored and excluded from any of consultation during this period, with the exception of some more regional communications at the Scarlets. We have agreed that we stand together as announcements and decisions are made, and we support each other and the stance that all existing regions should remain. There are precious few people putting money into the regional game in Wales and we represent those that do … so as you would expect, we have requested a follow up meeting in the coming weeks which was agreed.

We will of course provide our members and the wider supporter community with further updates as soon as they are available.

The Joint Supporters Club represents the four official Supporters organisations for the Welsh region (Crys16, Ospreys Supporters Club, Cardiff Blues Supporters CLub and Dragons Supporters Club).