Heineken Cup rugby returns to S4C this weekend with exclusive, free-to-air highlights coverage of the first-round clashes of the 2008/2009 tournament.
Three programmes broadcast on Saturday, 11 October, Sunday, 12 October and Monday, 13 October will feature highlights from the four Welsh regions’ opening games, as well as other top Heineken action.
Throughout the season, Arthur Emyr and Gareth Roberts will present the Saturday and Sunday night highlights programmes, while Arthur joins Eleri Siôn and Gwyn Jones on Monday nights to analyse the weekend’s games.
The opening weekend sees the Scarlets take on the Harlequins, the Ospreys travel to Leicester, the Blues challenge Calvasino and the Dragons welcoming Glasgow to Rodney Parade.
Geraint Rowlands, S4C’s Content Editor Sport, says, “S4C is dedicated to providing viewers with top quality sport and the Heineken Cup is the biggest rugby tournament outside the international stage. After a thrilling competition last season, it's hard to predict a winner – it’s anybody’s for the taking.”
• The Heineken Cup programmes will be broadcast on S4C digidol, which is available outside Wales on Sky 134 and Freesat 120.
• The opening weekend’s programmes are as follows:
Cwpan Heineken Saturday, 11 October at 7.25pm
Cwpan Heineken Sunday, 12 October at 7.30pm
Cwpan Heineken Monday, 13 October at 10.00pm
Leicester vs Ospreys – An exclusive preview
The Ospreys travel to Welford Road on Sunday afternoon to challenge the Leicester Tigers on home soil and the best of the action will feature in Cwpan Heineken at 7.30pm on Sunday evening.
Ospreys coach Sean Holley, Ospreys and Wales captain Ryan Jones and Shane Williams look ahead to the battle between the two sides.
Sean Holley, Ospreys coach
“Selection has been very difficult for myself and Jonathan (Humphreys, fellow coach) as there are contenders in every position. There will be an electric atmosphere on the pitch and we’re looking forward to the challenge. We’ve learnt from the loss against Saracens in the quarter-finals last season even though it was difficult to have it snatched away from us. We’re far more experienced within the squad now.
“I’m very confident. I know what we’re up against over the weekend – a great team who always play well in Europe and are really tough on home soil in Welford Road. We know what Leicester will bring to the pitch but the question is – are we good enough to win? I think we are.
“We will have to go up to Welford Road thinking that we can win the game and remembering that we’ve beaten them before. If we do that, we can win the game.
“I’m looking forward to the competition – it’s one of the highlights for me. You know once the Heineken Cup begins, you’ll be playing against the best teams and players in Europe and they are all difficult games. You have to be prepared for that because the standard is very high and only the best move on to the next round. We’re ready – we’ve worked hard in the Magners at the start of the season and, although we’re a little disappointed with our performance in the EDF last weekend against Harlequins, we’re in the right frame of mind to head to Welford Road and win.”
Ryan Jones, Wales and Ospreys captain
“This is a very exciting part of the season and playing Leicester away from home is the best possible way to start the campaign IT should make for a great advert for European Cup rugby. It’s become almost a romantic fixture – we’ve got a little bit of history between us and we know each other very well. . It’s really competitive between us – a great old-fashioned rivalry. Nothing excites the boys or the fans more than a cross-border challenge and Leicester are a fantastic club with a magnificent tradition.”