Ospreys steeling themselves for a big Ulster challenge at Liberty
STEVE Tandy has told the Ospreys to brace themselves for one of the toughest encounters they will face all season when Ulster visit the Liberty this evening (7.05).
The Welsh region are on a roll, unbeaten in four Pro12 games and level on points with leaders Glasgow.
But Tandy is conscious that Ulster have proved themselves among the best sides in Europe over the past two years, with appearances in Heineken Cup and Pro12 finals.
They can also win away, with an impressive eight successes piled up on the road in the league last season, including a grand slam of wins over the Welsh regions which featured thrashings of the Blues (48-19) and the Dragons (46-19).
Tandy is expecting a stern challenge, saying: "This fixture is as difficult as it gets.
"They have a strong squad with world-class players, among them Lions, All Blacks and Springboks, and as they've shown over the last two seasons in getting to Heineken and Pro12 finals, they can beat anyone.
"So we are going to have to be at our very best.
"It should be a cracking contest and is the first of two home games on the bounce against quality opposition with Leinster at the Liberty next weekend.
"This is what we've been building towards in the opening weeks of the season and it's a period any rugby fan will be excited about.
"Our fans will have a massive part to play over these two games, helping to create the kind of atmosphere that the team can thrive on. The players really appreciate the support they get each week, and hopefully with two massive games coming up the performance off the field will go up several levels as well as on it."