10:37am Tuesday 24th December 2013
By Iwan Gabe Davies
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons new boy Cory Hill is hoping to get one over his old head coach, Cardiff Blues’ new defence guru Dale McIntosh on Boxing Day.
Up-and-coming lock Hill was one of McIntosh’s charges when the pair were at all-conquering Principality Premiership outfit Pontypridd.
Ex-Wales Under-20s captain Hill went on to play for the Blues before the Dragons signed him from Moseley last month on a three-year deal while the ‘Chief’ left Sardis Road in October.
McIntosh became the Cardiff Arms Park side’s full-time defence coach after Rob Powell paid the price for the Blues’ shocking first half performance in a 44-29 defeat to Exeter in the Heineken Cup.
The former Wales and Pontypridd back rower has been credited with playing his part in making the Blues more competitive, his side recently winning back-to-back encounters in the Heineken Cup against Glasgow.
And Hill, 21, has huge respect for his old boss: “I was at Ponty for three years and I got to know Chief really well.
“He’s got a very big heart and he brings attitude and directness to a side.
“It’s difficult to say if he has made an impact in such a short period, but the Blues did get those back-to-back victories in Europe.
“I think it’s brilliant he got a chance with the Blues because he had been knocking on the door for years.”
Meanwhile, Dragons forwards coach Kingsley Jones has called on his side to put their away day blues behind them for their big Boxing Day derby.
They lost 14-11 to Connacht on Saturday, Fionn Carr’s 75th minute try and Dan Park’s last minute drop goal depriving them of their first victory at the Sportsground for nine years.
“We are putting in some really good performances at Rodney Parade, but it’s important we get that winning habit away,” Jones said.
“I don’t know whether it’s a mental thing – we have discussed it.
“For 75 minutes we were winning in Galway and it was the same in Edinburgh previously.
“We had a good win in Glasgow but we’ve got to pick up those wins if we want to be in the top six of the league in the future.”
Jones added: “But there’s a lot of positives and we’ve got a lot of good young players. There have been some very good performances at home.
“We’ve got the Blues twice over Christmas. It’s a big challenge for us but we are looking forward to it. We’ve got them at home of Boxing Day and that’s one we will be focusing on.”
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