Heineken Cup: Ospreys urged to learn from Heineken Cup flops

Jonathan Humphreys
Humphreys' Ospreys have not gone further than the last eight in Europe

The "maturing" Ospreys have been told to use their European upsets as inspiration to end their perceived "under-achieving" in the Heineken Cup.

The Welsh team start their European bid against French side Biarritz on Saturday hoping to improve on their quarter-final best in the Heineken Cup.

"Have we under-achieved? Have we had chances to go further? Yes," said forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys.

"There's no understating our desire to be more successful in the competition."

The three-time Celtic league champions qualified for three successive Heineken Cup quarter-finals before failing to make the knock-out stages last season.

They have never finished top of a Heineken Cup pool and face big-spending English side Saracens and Italian team Benetton Treviso after their opener with French giants Biarritz this season.

This is Ospreys' first European campaign without Mike Phillips, James Hook, Gavin Henson and Lee Byrne following their high-profile departures as the club try to change their "Galacticos" image.

New Zealanders Jerry Collins and Marty Holah have also left but Humphreys says the region are "excited" about their young prospects led by Wales internationals Alun Wyn Jones, Adam Jones, Ryan Jones and Shane Williams.

"We've lost some experienced players," said Humphreys.

"But we have a squad here now that are getting to an age where we are maturing.

"The regional concept in Wales is still quite young and some of these regions are in various stages of their development."

But Humphreys warned: "There are a lot of teams with a lot more money and a lot bigger squads than us who are trying to win this same competition."

Both Pool Five rivals Saracens and Biarritz have beaten Ospreys in European quarter-finals and Humphreys hopes his side can learn from previous disappointments.

"We've got all these highs and lows and these disappointments are with us now," said the former Wales hooker.

"It is not about learning from the pain of those defeats but learning from the experiences. Europe is all about experiences.

"We're all in agreement that we want to push on to the next level.

"What we have to do now is win at home, build on it, get out of our group and then we're in with a shout with the rest of them."

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