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Two of the best-known Jones’ in Pro Rugby in Wales say they are ready and up for the challenge presented by two weekends of big European Champions Cup action.

Its a French affair this weekend as the Ospreys host Clermont at the Liberty Stadium on Friday evening (KO 7.45pm) and the Scarlets take on Racing 92 out in Paris.

Ospreys skipper Alun Wyn Jones says they will ‘approach it positively’ as they prepare for for a nail-biting finale to their Champions Cup Pool 2 campaign over the next two weekends.

There’s everything to play for as the Ospreys welcome Clermont Auvergne to the Liberty Stadium on Friday night before travelling to Exeter nine days later, with just four points separating the French side in first place and next week’s opponents in third, with the region sandwiched in between.

Taking time out of preparing for Friday night’s game at Llandarcy Academy of Sport, the Ospreys skipper said: “Everybody knows how important this game is, particularly with the pool being so wide open.

“While we target a win in every game you have to be pragmatic about it and to get the two points in both matches out in France means we are going into the last two rounds still in contention. Let’s be honest about it, that’s probably beyond the expectations of most people outside of the camp when we started.

“We’ve got an opportunity on Friday now to really push ourselves forward, maybe take control at the top of the group, with one more, very difficult, away trip to come the following week.

“Our sole focus this week is Clermont and doing what we’ve got to do to ensure the level of performance needed to make an impact against quality opposition who put themselves in a good position with their performance and result against Bordeaux last week.”

Last weekend saw a five game winning run in the PRO12 grind to a halt against Leinster and, while acknowledging the need for improvement this Friday night, Jones pointed to the region’s European form to date as the level the team need to reach, if not surpass, over the next two games.

“We put in some good performances in the last round of European fixtures but everybody realises that we’ve got to lift ourselves several notches above the Leinster game last week” he said.

“We have to approach it positively. I’m not saying we weren’t positive against Leinster but for all the possession we had we struggled at times to keep the ball for long periods where it really mattered.

“It’s a long time since we’ve reached this stage of European competition and still had a realistic opportunity to go through from the pool. The manner of how we’ve gone about our business in Europe this season, some of the performances we’ve put in, is a huge positive, and we’ve got to do the same again this week.

“In recent years by Round 5 we’ve been out of contention. There are probably people who feel that’s the case this year looking at the two fixtures we’ve got coming up, we’re realistic enough to recognise that, but we know and understand what we have to do.”

Jones also paid tribute to the loyal Ospreys supporters who have made their presence felt at home and away in European competition once again this season, highlighting the need to give them their reward for the constant backing they provide the team:

“There’s a hard core of supporters who will be with us on Friday night, who are there through thick and thin for the Ospreys, and we will be going out there to give them something back. We are always looking to represent them as best we can, to live the values of this team, and I think they recognise in our European campaign that we are doing just that. That needs to keep being the case, starting on Friday night.”

Tickets for the big game against Clermont Auvergne are available to buy now from the Liberty Stadium Ticket Office and via the Ticket Hotline on 0844 815 6665. Alternatively, you can buy your tickets online at now and opt to print at home, avoiding the matchday queues – and for this game there is no online purchase admin fee when you opt to print at home.

And over the other side of the Loughor Bridge Scarlets Backs Coach Stephen Jones has urged his young guns to enjoy the challenge of taking on the all-stars in Paris.

As Scarlets prepare to take on Racing 92 at Stade Yves-du-Manoir on Sunday afternoon, in pool 5 of the European Rugby Champions Cup, former international Jones has expressed his excitement at the region’s outside half having the opportunity to face the world renowned Carter.

Jones played 109 games for Wales scoring 951 points over 15 seasons and faced Carter on eight occasions.

With the team to take on Racing 92 set to be announced Friday lunchtime Jones believes it’s an exciting opportunity for the person named at outside half to take on one of world rugby’s greats.

He said: “I think it’s brilliant. First of all I’d expect that player to be solely focused on our game plan and his own performance. Whoever’s at 10 you need to make sure your house is in order and deliver your roles and responsibility, but to also enjoy.

“You’re on the paddock against probably the best outside half in the professional era, what an opportunity!

“I’d tell our players to be excited by it. It doesn’t change week in week out, your focus has to be performing well, delivering your roles, managing the game. Stay process driven like that but enjoy who’s sharing the pitch with you.”

Scarlets will conclude their European Champions Cup campaign at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday 23rd January taking on Northampton Saints, kick off 5.30pm. The Guinness PRO12 returns to the Parc on Friday 12th February as Scarlets welcome Edinburgh, kick-off 8.15pm. Tickets for both are available now at or by calling 0871 871 8088