Expectations that the Ospreys can challenge for the Heineken Cup may remain high each year but Ryan Jones bristles at suggestions they are underachievers in Europe.
The big-spending Welsh region can field nearly an entire line-up of home internationals yet they have never reached the semi-finals.
Last season's humiliating 43-9 defeat by Munster in the last eight suggested they are farther away from breaking into the elite than ever.
Instead, they were overtaken by Cardiff Blues who were only denied a place in last May's final when they succumbed in a dramatic penalty shoot-out against Leicester.
A Magners League title and EDF Energy Cup crown have provided some tangible reward for the Ospreys' ambition but their lack of success in the Heineken Cup, the benchmark by which they wish to be judged, is acute.
Once again they have been drawn in a tough group including growing rivals Leicester and Clermont Auvergne.
Leicester remain the only team to have successfully defended the Heineken Cup and were beaten finalists in two of the last three years.
Jones admires their big-game mentality, but the Wales captain refuses to accept the Ospreys have consistently punched below their weight in comparison.
“Leicester know how to win big rugby matches and capitalise on big moments,” Jones said. “That's fantastic quality to have and is something they've developed over a number of years.
“The suggestion that we keep coming up short seem to follow us around, but people forget we're still a relatively young side.
“It took Leinster 14 years to win the Heineken Cup whereas we've only had six seasons in the competition.
“We're getting there slowly and are maturing as a squad. We're going in the right direction.
“Hopefully the penny is starting to drop over what's required to do well. You only become the best by playing the best time and time again.
“You draw on those experiences as an individual and team. The more experience each of you has makes you stronger as a team.”
The Ospreys have drawn Leicester in the pool stage for the second time in five seasons in a series the Tigers lead 3-1 and which resumes at Welford Road on October 11.
They have also clashed in two of the last three EDF Energy Cup finals, with honours even.
Spice was added to their rivalry when Martin Corry was suspended for six weeks for eye-gouging Ospreys hooker Richard Hibbard in January, and Jones enjoys their contests.
“We've developed a healthy rivalry with Leicester over the years. There's a healthy respect there,” said Jones. “The fans look forward to it and the players look forward to it. That bodes for a good game.
“There have been some great moments and great encounters between us. Leicester are one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
“The aura and history surrounding them is huge. Those are the games you remember.”
The Ospreys have made a slow start to the Magners League, losing two of their four games, but Jones believes their victory at Glasgow last Saturday shows they are coming good at the right time.
“It's been a mixed bag so far. It's been tough. Guys have come back at different times and new management have come in,” he said.
“We've shown glimpses - the second half against Glasgow at the weekend was superb in patches.
“Now we feel close to putting in 75 to 80 minutes of good rugby which with a bit of luck we've timed perfectly going into the Heineken Cup.”