Lyn Jones: Dragons must match Northampton's power
Updated 9:03am Saturday 25th January 2014 in Sport
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons boss Lyn Jones has called on his charges to stand firm in the face of Northampton's power game this afternoon, writes Chris Kirwan.
The Saints head to Rodney Parade with a second-string side in the LV= Cup (kick-off 2.30pm) but will use the same blueprint that has them eyeing the Aviva Premiership title.
It served them well in Newport last season when they turned a 10-6 half-time deficit into a 30-20 win by going back to basics with their strong set piece while they dismantled the Dragons' scrum in a crushing 28-3 triumph at Franklin's Gardens in 2010.
Northampton can secure a place in the semi-finals of the cross-border development tournament if they win and the Dragons know from experience that English sides boast formidable strength in depth.
Bath made 12 changes and rested the majority of their big guns when they headed over the Severn Bridge in the Amlin Challenge Cup earlier this month yet they still cruised to victory, notching a bonus point in just over half an hour.
Director of rugby Jones has demanded an improvement from his side in a clash that will be played out to a wider audience on Sky Sports.
"We were given a lesson by Bath in the Amlin," said Jones. "They played very well and showed that they are one of the top four power teams in the Aviva Premiership.
"This weekend we face a Northampton side who also belong in that bracket and we need to play at a higher intensity.
"It's going to be a big challenge but one we are looking forward to; Northampton spend a hell of a lot of money on wages for players and staff, so they need to have some silverware to show for that."
Jones makes 10 changes to the side that was made to work hard for a 24-12 European success in Mogliano last week. Like that Amlin Challenge Cup encounter, it's a chance to impress ahead of the RaboDirect Pro12 run-in.
"This month is trial time for players and I am trying to give everybody a run out to see who is who and what is what for February onwards," said Jones.
"Some people have already impressed and some others will be given an opportunity against Newcastle next week."
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