Scott Gibbs hopes Wembley inspires Ospreys

Heineken Cup Pool Five: Saracens v Ospreys

Venue:
Wembley Stadium
Date:
Saturday, 10 December
Kick-off:
1800 GMT
Coverage:
Live BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio Wales, local radio & online, live Radio Cymru commentary (Welsh language), score updates on the BBC Sport website, live on Sky Sports 1

Scott Gibbs hopes Ospreys can beat English champions Saracens in Europe at Wembley to "set their season up" in a crunch period for his old club.

The Ospreys will be the first Welsh rugby union side to grace Wembley since Gibbs scored a last-gasp try as Wales beat England in the 1999 Five Nations.

The former Wales and Ospreys centre feels they can end years of "under-achievement" and win the Heineken Cup.

"The Ospreys are in a great space at the moment," said rugby great Gibbs.

"And this month could really set their season up."

Ospreys have a Heineken Cup double-header with Saracens before three Welsh derbies in the Pro 12 league against Scarlets, Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons.

Scott Johnson's side then host Italian side Treviso before their final Pool Five game, a tough trip to French giants Biarritz, as the Welsh region hope to improve on their quarter-final best in the Heineken Cup.

Ospreys have failed to win in five European away games but the revitalised region have lost just once this season and three-time British and Irish Lions tourist Gibbs hopes a Wembley appearance can be a catalyst in their season.

And Gibbs hopes memories of their 2008 quarter-final defeat to Sarries can motivate the Ospreys on Saturday.

"They'd be disappointed at the quarter-final match-up a couple of years ago," said Gibbs.

"There are some scars to be healed.

"Both are second in their domestic leagues and both have the best defensive records in their respective league and it is a great opportunity for the Ospreys to galvanise themselves at the top of that group and looking forward to a possible home quarter-final draw."

Gibbs has praised Ospreys' young side this season, a team that is in transition following the departures of Mike Phillips, James Hook, Lee Byrne, Gavin Henson, Jerry Collins and Marty Holah in the last 12 months.

"These have been a disappointing couple of years for a squad of star-studded players that under-achieved," said Gibbs, who played for Ospreys in their first season following the advent of regional rugby in Wales.

"I'm sure these young guys are relishing this and they are performing for the organisation and delivering winning performances."

"But on the back of Wales' World Cup performance, is this the year a Welsh side wins in the Heineken Cup? And I have a strong feeling that Ospreys or Scarlets are going to be there."

Wembley is the home of English football but was the scene of one of Welsh sport's most thrilling moments when Gibbs' injury-time try beat England and denied their rivals a Grand Slam in the final Five Nations Championship game.

The London arena was Welsh rugby's temporary home when The Millennium Stadium was being rebuilt and Gibbs' score has gone down in Welsh sporting folklore.

"I'm still reminded of it and I'm privileged to be in that position to look back on such a glorious moment in Welsh sport and be part of a team snatched victory from England," said Gibbs.

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