8:36am Friday 14th February 2014
NEWPORT forwards coach Dai Gray insists his side have “nothing to fear” when they clash away in the Swalec Cup this weekend with holders Pontypridd, writes Iwan Gabe Davies.
The Black and Ambers will look to salvage their disappointing season in the Principality Premiership with a decent cup run as they aim to add to their competition triumphs in 1977 and 2001.
The draw hasn’t been kind to them however because they have to travel to face the double champions at their Sardis Road fortress who are enjoying a fine league campaign this season, currently second in the table to Carmarthen Quins.
Newport’s domestic campaign has been decimated by the weather, the famous club having only played three matches over the last two months.
Their most recent encounter was a desperately unlucky 11-9 setback to Aberavon at Rodney Parade in early February.
Forwards guru Gray is hoping their misfortune will change when they travel to Ponty tomorrow, having done well against them in recent years, the only team to lower their colours in the league last season after a 20-19 victory at home.
“We go to Pontypridd with nothing to lose really,” he said. “Over the last couple of seasons we have gone to Sardis Road and been very competitive in some games that could have gone either way, so we travel there with nothing to fear and with plenty of confidence.
“We are hoping for some decent weather on the weekend, but it’s going to be very heavy underfoot and we know it is going to be a big challenge for us.”
On the recent narrow defeat to the Wizards and what they need to do this weekend, he added: “We showed excellent endeavour against Aberavon and our work rate was excellent, but that defeat again seemed to sum up our season in terms of luck and that failure to convert pressure into points – we need to be more clinical.
“It’s not through a lack of effort that games aren’t going our way.
“It has been a disappointing league campaign for us and a good cup run is just what we need.”
Newport are likely to be without promising prop Alex Jefferies who has strained knee ligaments.
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