4:03pm Wednesday 16th October 2013
By Iwan Gabe Davies
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons back rower Ieuan Jones will play for Cross Keys in this weekend’s British and Irish Cup clash, to the delight of the Pandy Park side.
The 20-year-old is set to feature for the Gwent Valleys team against Ealing along, with another talented young player in up-and-coming academy centre Tyler Morgan.
The Dragons, with Keys representing them in this season’s tournament, are helping the Principality Premiership outfit by making players available to the 2012 finalists.
Dragons outside half Steffan Jones, props Aaron Coundley and Nathan Buck, as well as exciting academy prospects Angus O’Brien (fly half) and Scott Matthews (openside flanker) make the trip to London on Saturday.
Back rower Jevon Groves was also due to play a part with Keys, but he was called up for the Dragons squad which takes on Bath away in this weekend’s Amlin Challenge Cup showdown.
Keys are looking to build on last week’s fine start to competition when they beat Moseley 20-16 at Pandy Park, a hard-earned victory over tough opposition.
Their head coach Greg Woods is pleased to have Ieuan Jones and Morgan on board after Steffan Jones, Coundley, Buck, O’Brien and Matthews played in Saturday’s triumph.
“Ieuan has performed really well for the Dragons over the last 12 to 18 months and I expect him to bring some real dynamism to our back row,” he said.
“Tyler is a youngster from the academy who has played with Angus a lot at that age group and he’s doing really well for Newport so it’s another step-up for him in the British and Irish Cup.
“I just think it’s a good opportunity for the two of them to leave their mark in this tournament.”
Woods added: “We expect the regional players to be leading the way on the stats in the games in tackles and carries and making the right decisions, and with the quality of players we’ve got in our squad, it should make for a good mix.
“What I look for in those Dragons players is their professional experience and their skill to enhance what we’ve got.
“These are big games for them and they are all watched by the region to see who is performing well.
“Having these regional players coming in will also help us in the long term as well because we’ve got to manage our squad for the league games coming up because we’ve got three in a week.”
Keys prop Anthony ‘Vinny’ Lott will miss this weekend’s game through illness.
Ealing are struggling this season, without a win after four defeats in the Championship and they endured a 49-8 hammering away at holders Leinster A last week in their opening British and Irish Cup game.
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