'We've learned our lessons'
STEVE Tandy insists the Ospreys have learned some harsh lessons from last season ahead of tonight's RaboDirect Pro12 opener away at Treviso (6.30pm).
The Ospreys missed out on a play-off place by just four points last term, owing much to a stuttering start to the campaign which saw them lose their first three matches.
That sequence began with a 12-6 opening weekend loss to Treviso in Italy and, as they seek revenge tonight, Tandy has urged the Ospreys to begin this season with a bang.
"It's crucial that we start the season better than we did last time," said the region's head coach.
"Three defeats early on left us with too much to do in terms of securing a top four spot, so we have to make sure we get off to a better start."
The Ospreys will be boosted by the presence of British & Irish Lions trio Adam Jones, Richard Hibbard and Ian Evans, who have been named on the bench for this evening's encounter.
Other Welsh regions have opted to rest their Lions, but the Ospreys have their big-hitters in reserve.
Another two of the Ospreys' Lions contingent, captain Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric, have been left out of the matchday squad. Wales veteran Ryan Jones captains the side at lock, while new signing and Italian international Tito Tebaldi starts at scrum-half.
Flanker Tom Smith makes his first appearance since May 2012, while there is also a return from injury for centre Andrew Bishop.
"It's a tough start," Tandy added.
"Treviso beat every Welsh team at home last season, and we lost twice out there (once in the Heineken Cup), so we know that we have to be at our best from the very first whistle."