Heineken Cup - Round 2
Ospreys bank on home comforts
October 13, 2009
Ospreys winger Shane Williams claims the ball during last Sunday's clash with Leicester at Welford Road © Getty Images
Ospreys wing Shane Williams is confident his side can get the better of Clermont Auvergne when the two go head-to-head in the Heineken Cup this weekend.
The Ospreys have not lost at the Liberty Stadium in their last 10 Heineken Cup matches - and the score stands at 1-1 in meetings between the two sides from their 2005-06 Pool meetings, home advantage making all the difference. And in last weekend's opening European encounters Clermont made a five-point winning start to their Pool 3 challenge at home to Viadana, while the Ospreys had to settle for two points from a 32-32 thriller against Leicester Tigers at a revamped Welford Road.
"We all know we are in a tough group and against Clermont at home will be no different from how it was against Leicester away," said Williams, the reigning the IRB World Player of the year. "As a team Clermont are a very good side and although maybe they stuttered at the start of the weekend, they still got the full points to show what a good team they are.
"It is going to be very difficult but we can take a lot out of the game against the Tigers," added Wales' leading try-scorer. "Yes, we squandered some chances and didn't win in the end but we came away from there without having lost - and not many teams manage to do that.
"We certainly enjoy playing against the French and Clermont have some tremendous flair players in a great back line - it is always a great battle," said Williams. "What we do know is that we have been very successful at home in the Heineken Cup, including against French sides, while when it comes to the away games I have gone over there enough times come away with anything to know the challenge.
"The simple answer is that we know Clermont are an excellent side and we will have to be on top of our game. The Heineken Cup is all about winning but we do try and go out and play some rugby - although we may not have shown that at times in the second half against Leicester - but we are a side who want to go out there and enjoy ourselves.
"Scott Johnson (the new Director of Coaching) has brought that to the table, he knows what players we have got on board and he knows that we play our best rugby when we play with a bit of flair and enjoy ourselves. So, hopefully, we have learnt from this opening match, learnt how to win games and seal them off at the end.
"However, we did show we can go away from home, play really well and not get to intimidated and that has to be the case in the Heineken Cup where you are playing some big sides home and away."
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