Cross Keys chasing English double to keep slim qualification hopes alive

10:32am Friday 10th January 2014

CROSS Keys are playing knockout rugby as they look to secure the first part of an English double against Ealing Trailfinders tomorrow afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

The Pandy Park outfit need to win against their visitors this weekend and then follow up with an away success at Moseley if they are to have any chance of making the knockout stages of the British and Irish Cup.

Leinster A are romping away with Pool One of the tournament after doing the double over Keys in December.

However, the Gwent outfit, runners-up in the 2011/12 tournament, can still sneak into the last eight as one of the best-placed runners-up if results go their way.

Keys' fate is out of their own hands and progress looks unlikely but head coach Greg Woods is looking for his side to give it their best shot with a pair of bonus-point wins.

"It's up to us to see if we can qualify, a runner's up spot is still within our grasp," he said.

"We'll need 10 points from our next two games and it will be very difficult, we know that.

"Ealing are a very tough side and they've come into form in the last few weeks. They've beaten Moseley and Nottingham in the last month but we're at home and we'll be giving it a right crack."

Keys are having a fine season and have lost just four times; twice to Leinster and to the Premiership's top two of Pontypridd and Carmarthen Quins.

They triumphed 24-15 in Ealing in October with a hat-trick of tries by Tom Lampard and another by Dragons number eight Ieuan Jones.

Keys are bolstered by the region's scrum-half Jonathan Evans this weekend while prop Nathan Williams is on the bench.

Bedwas stalwart Phil Sargent makes his Keys debut in the back row while scrum-half Owen Jones and full-back/wing Ryan Lee are on the bench after returning to the club from Fleur-de-Lys and Newbridge respectively.

Keys: R Jones, K Baller, J Cordy-Redden, P Williams, N Williams, D Jones, J Evans, R Cornock, G Price, C Gould, D Hodge, O Hodge, P Sargent, S Matthews, A Powell (captain). Replacements: H Palmer, N Williams, A Lott, R Tucker, T Lampard, O Jones, R Lee.

How the second-placed clubs stand: Leeds (Pool Five) 16 points, London Scottish (Pool Two) 15 points, Munster (Pool Four) 13 points, Bedford (Pool Three) 11 points, Cross Keys (Pool One) 9 points, Ulster (Pool Six) 9 points.

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