Lions prop Adam Jones has extolled the virtues of the new Magners League Play-Off system but he admits that the Ospreys’ fine run of form will mean nothing if they slip to defeat to Glasgow this weekend.
The Ospreys qualified for the inaugural semi-finals thanks to four wins in their last five league games, including a heroic 15-11 triumph against Munster at Fortress Thomond Park in Round 17.
A convincing bonus-point victory over the Dragons in their final game of the regular season confirmed a home semi-final, when only last year under the old system it would have meant nothing more than a second place finish to title winners Leinster.
"It’s really exciting to have the Play-Offs at the end of the season,” said Jones, who received global recognition when the Lions toured South Africa last summer.
“Instead of not having anything to play for we potentially have another two massive games and a trophy up for grabs.
"We’re chomping at the bit to get into the Grand Final. The Heineken Cup quarter-final was a tough game to lose, but I think we’ve come back strongly since then and showed our mettle.
"But all those games we’ve won of late to get into the Play-Offs will count for nothing if we don’t win the Grand Final.”
With Glasgow securing maximum points at the Scarlets in their Round 18 fixture, anything less than five points for the Ospreys against the Dragons would have resulted in an away semi for Jones and co.
And despite having won at both Ulster and Munster last month, the British & Irish Lions prop admits that home advantage could be a major factor in the race for a Grand Final place.
"A home draw makes a big difference,” added Jones, who was preparing for his first-ever Lion tour this time last year.
“You only have to look at the likes of Munster and see what a hard place Thomond Park is to play, especially when you get to the knock-out stages of a competition. Playing at home will inspire us.
"We’ve beaten Clermont Auvergne and Leicester Tigers at the Liberty Stadium this season and, hopefully, we will get another big crowd to cheer us on. Perhaps we will even start pulling in some non-rugby people for such a big game.
"I don’t think any team enjoys coming to the Liberty Stadium and we like to make it tough for everyone. But we know Glasgow are a good side – they have a formidable pack and I’m sure Dan Parks will want to finish his career with them on a high."
Tickets for the Ospreys vs Glasgow warriors Magners League Play-Off semi-final are available on-line at www.ospreysrugby.com.