Kingsley Jones vows to keep grafting with inexperienced front row
THE SUBSTITUTIONS in the Amlin Challenge Cup clash at the Rec must have made Newport Gwent Dragons forwards coach Kingsley Jones green with envy.
What he would give for just one of the seasoned options that Bath had at their disposal to bolster his inexperienced front row.
The English side were able to replace 31-year-old Samoa international loosehead Anthony Perenise with 31-year-old Wales cap Paul James and 28-year-old England tighthead Davey Wilson with 30-year-old Argentina prop Juan Pablo Orlandi. They also gave England hooker Rob Webber the weekend off.
It will be a similar story at the Liberty Stadium on Friday when the Ospreys are able to call on the likes of Duncan Jones, Ryan Bevington, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones and Aaron Jarvis, who will have Alun Wyn Jones, Ian Evans, Ryan Jones, Justin Tipuric and Joe Bearman packing down behind them.
The Dragons, who are set to involve loosehead Nathan Williams in a first matchday squad of the season, have struggled in the set piece so far this season but in the absence of a pot of gold all they can do is keep grafting and learning.
"We have made a lot of improvements but there is still plenty more to do," admitted Jones. "We could do with a little bit more experience in the front row but those young boys have got to step up.
"Against Bath we showed signs of improvement but the top teams are able to make big substitutions that have an effect on the outcome.
"We are yet to show our potential in attack because we have got to get a better platform so we are aiming to get parity (up front) against the Ospreys.
"That's a big challenge but we have got everything to gain and nothing to lose."
They will be up against an Ospreys side that have lost their last three after being turned over by Ulster in the Pro12 and suffering Heineken Cup defeats to Leinster and Northampton.
"The Ospreys will be hurting and the first 30 minutes will have a big say on the outcome," said Jones.
"I am sure they are not happy about their three losses and will be keen to put the record straight.
"If we are in it at 30, 40 minutes then we have every chance of upsetting to odds because the way that the Ospreys start games is incredible.
"They usually exude confidence at home and they can win a game in the first 20 minutes. We have to deal with that."
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