Ospreys captain Ryan Jones says the pool stages of the Heineken Cup have reached 'crunch time' for the Liberty Stadium outfit.
Jones takes his side to the Stade Marcel Michelin for a crucial Round 5 encounter with Clermont Auvergne as the Ospreys look to enhance their chances of a place in the last eight.
The Ospreys currently head Pool 3 by four points from both Clermont and Leicester Tigers but have to face those same sides on the final two weekends of pool action.
And Jones knows that if his team want to become the first Welsh side to be crowned European Champions, then occasions like Saturday's trip to central France and the following week's home tie with the Tigers are absolutely crucial.
"We are at crunch-time now and you can't fail to be excited about it," said Jones.
"We've worked hard to put ourselves in a good position after four rounds, but this is where the hard work really starts.
"If we don't hit the right performance levels in the final two fixtures this month then the results we secured in October and December won't count for anything."
Despite his cautious approach to the last two group games of the season, Jones is confident that the 2008 and 2009 quarter-finalists have what it takes to reach the last eight for a third successive year.
Scott Johnson's side have recovered from a slow start to the season and are flying high in both their domestic league and on the European scene.
And Jones is determined to ensure that fine form continues as the region face two of their most important games in their short history.
"We realise that we face a tough challenge, but we have been working hard to build towards January as we always knew that this was the decisive month in terms of progression to the next stage," added Jones.
"We've improved throughout the season week on week, but we are under no illusions about where we are right now - we realise that we still have some way to go if we are going to finish off the job
"The focus is very much on continuing that improvement and raising all areas of our game to another level.
"We go out to Clermont Auvergne knowing that we have to be professional out there and do our job properly to ensure that we bring something back with us.
"If we can do that, it will then set up the Leicester game to be something special. There'll be a big crowd, just as there was up in Welford Road, and with it, there should be a great atmosphere.
"It's fantastic to be involved in big games like these for the region and everyone in the squad is looking forward to them."
Despite drawing with Ireland in the opening round of the RBS 6 Nations, Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards believes the championship 'is still in our hands' as he prepares his side to face Scotland at Principality Stadium tomorrow.
Meet the members of the WRU's inaugural Youth Board - after an online selection process which saw a host of high calibre candidates submit video applications the WRU has made its first 15 appointments.The board is made up of individuals aged between 16 and 21, and will meet for the first time at Principality Stadium on Monday 15th February.
The Wales Women's team headed to Dare Valley Country Park on a team bonding exercise as the entire squad got together for the very first time in preparation for this season's Six Nations championship which kicks off on Saturday with a clash against defending champions Ireland, in Donnybrook.
Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland discusses his team selection for the opening round of the RBS 6 Nations where he leads his side against Ireland, on Sunday. As WRU TV's Luke Brodley discovers, Gatland is fully aware of the challenges the defending champions pose