Ospreys to return to the Gnoll for clash against Saracens

Gavin Henson
Gavin Henson (R) playing for the Ospreys at the Gnoll in 2005.

Ospreys are to play their first competitive fixture at the Gnoll in Neath since 2005.

The Welsh region have decided to play all their home matches in the first stage of the LV= Cup away from the Liberty Stadium.

Aviva Premiership and Heineken Cup runners-up, Saracens, will be the opposition on Friday 7 November.

Bridgend's Brewery Field will host the game against Newport Gwent Dragons on 14 November.

It will be the seventh time that Bridgend Ravens have hosted an LV= Cup game since Ospreys first took games on the road in November 2010, with the Welsh region securing four wins from six at the venue.

Will Thomas, chief executive of Neath RFC, said it was "fantastic news" for the club and town.

"For the Ospreys to be bringing this game to the Gnoll really is something for all rugby fans in the town to celebrate and is further evidence of the growing relationship between club and region," said Thomas.

Ospreys celebrate as captain Barry Williams lifts the 2005 Celtic League trophy
Ospreys captain Barry Williams lifts the 2004-05 Celtic League trophy at the Gnoll

"The town will be buzzing with excitement around this game and it's going to be great to see thousands of supporters pouring into town to enjoy the big match atmosphere once again."

The Ospreys played their first ever competitive fixture at the Gnoll in September 2003, when a crowd of 4,250 turned up to see their 41-30 win against Ulster.

In 2005 they sealed their first Celtic League title there with a 29-12 win over Edinburgh, before moving to the Liberty Stadium.

Ospreys chief executive Andrew Hore said everyone at the region was "excited" about returning to Neath for the match.

"Neath and the Ospreys are intrinsically linked, with the club playing a huge part in our short but successful history to date," said Hore.

"Taking these LV= Cup games out into the region allows us to get right into the heart of the region.

"It's important that both our young players and those who have come to the Ospreys from elsewhere can see for themselves what this region is all about and who it is they are representing.

"Experiencing the Gnoll for themselves will certainly allow them to gain a greater understanding."

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