Pro14: Ospreys to host Connacht in Bridgend in October

Bridgend against Swansea at Morganstone Brewery Field in the Welsh Premiership
Bridgend play at Morganstone Brewery Field in the Welsh Premiership

Ospreys are to play a home Pro14 game in Bridgend for the first time, hosting Connacht there on Friday, 26 October.

They are doing so to ensure as many of their Wales players are available for the game as possible.

Swansea City have fixture priority at Liberty Stadium, where they host Reading on Saturday, 27 October.

Wales' autumn Tests start the following Saturday and a game at Liberty Stadium on 28 October would have meant Ospreys stars being absent.

The nation's four professional teams must release players within seven days of a Test encounter under World Rugby rules.

Ospreys also play Glasgow on 2 November so choosing to play Connacht on Sunday, 28 October in Swansea would have meant a five-day turnaround for the squad.

It is the first time the Ospreys have switched a home fixture since they moved into the Liberty Stadium in the summer of 2005.

"As a business, rugby performance has to be the first and foremost priority at all times," said Ospreys managing director Andrew Millward.

"Every decision we make must be with the effect on the team in mind.

"With the player release window impacting on squad availability, the five day turnaround from Sunday to Friday would put an unacceptable strain on Allen Clarke, his coaching team and the players.

"That is why we have made the decision, as a one-off, to switch the game to Bridgend, providing them with the maximum recovery and preparation time between fixtures."

The last time the region played away from the Liberty Stadium was a 23-16 win over Ulster at St Helen's in April 2005.

Ospreys have played friendlies and Anglo-Welsh Cup games as part of 10 matches staged at Morganstone Brewery Field that was the former home of ex-Welsh region Celtic Warriors, who disbanded in 2004.

"We expect a fantastic welcome and are putting the finishing touches on travel and ticketing arrangements for this game to ensure a successful evening to remember on and off the field," added Millward.