Sensational form gives Cross Keys belief
7:02am Saturday 7th December 2013 in Sport
CROSS Keys head coach Greg Woods says his side go into their biggest game of the season full of self-belief after recording two stunning away victories, writes Iwan Gabe Davies.
This afternoon the Gwent Valleys side will play crack side Leinster A in the Irish capital city, looking to cause an upset at Dublin’s Donnybrook.
Both Keys and their opponents, the reigning champions, are unbeaten so far in the British and Irish Cup with two wins from two.
The two have beaten Moseley and Ealing in pool one, Leinster A leading the group from Woods’ men on points difference.
Keys are on a real roll at the moment having won seven games in a row in all competitions.
Over the last eight days, they have excelled in the Principality Premiership with two superb wins on their travels, putting Cardiff to the sword 38-10 before they nearly repeated that score on Tuesday night by rocking league and cup double champions Pontypridd 38-17 at Sardis Road.
That last success ended Ponty's remarkable unbeaten 30-match run, which nearly stretched back a year, and moved Keys up to fourth in the table just five points off the top with a game in hand.
Playing their third away encounter in eight days might be taking its toll but those wonderful wins have given them a huge lift.
"It's been a tough week but we've had two great wins so we're going into the game with Leinster full of confidence,” Woods said.
"It's a massive challenge against one of the best sides in Europe, but we're more than up for it.”
Woods added: "Every time you play a fully professional team, the contact area is a massive step up. The key thing for us is that our defence is strong and when we have the ball, we have to make sure we keep it.
"We can't defend all the time so in an attacking sense, ball retention is going to be massive for us.”
There is also a big clash in the Premiership with Newport entertaining near neighbours Bedwas and hoping to build on last week’s remarkable 26-15 away win at Neath.
Trailing 15-3 at half-time and reduced to 14 men, the Black and Ambers staged an extraordinary comeback.
The hosts field the same starting line-up as the Gnoll with the exception of the addition of hooker Andrew Brown who steps up from the bench.
Just one point separates Newport in eighth and Bedwas in seventh, the Black and Ambers looking to continue their decent form of late by recording what would be a third victory in four.
Newport Gwent Dragons and Wales wing Will Harries is among the replacement for the Rodney Parade outfit.
Cross Keys: D Jones, K Baller, L Andrews (captain), J Cordy-Redden, E Jones, S Jones, R James, R Cornock, G Price, A Lott, D Hodge, O Hodge, J Groves, S Matthews, A Powell. Replacements: D Hughes, L Garrett, C Gould, R Tucker, T Lampard, N Trowbridge, R Dyer.
Newport: G O'Driscoll, A Hewitt, D Robinson, D Franchi, E Frewen, E Davies, J Leadbeater, D Pattison, Andrew Brown, G Robinson, Adam Brown, A Frampton, S Waldron, C Attwell, L Beach (capt).
Replacements: J Jeune, J Greenfield, J Sullivan, B Lampitt, M O'Brien, W Harries, T James/ A Quick, A Jeffries.
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