7:30am Friday 21st February 2014
CROSS Keys get back to the bread and butter of the league this weekend after the highs of last Saturday’s excellent 31-3 Swalec Cup victory away at Bedwas, writes Iwan Gabe Davies.
And head coach Greg Woods is under no illusions about how tough their away trip to Llandovery will be.
Keys are pushing hard for a Principality Premiership play-off spot this season and are currently very well placed.
They are fourth, just two points behind Llandovery who are one place above them, although the Gwent Valleys outfit have two games in hand over them.
Last season the Drovers made the play-offs, going down 29-20 in a home tie to Llanelli after finishing second to eventual league and cup champions Pontypridd.
Keys know how difficult it is to play in the wild West at Church Bank, losing heavily 39-17 nearly a year ago in early March as their quest for a last three spot ended in eventual agonising failure, just missing out.
They did get their revenge with a comprehensive 29-13 over Llandovery in the Premiership at Pandy Park in September.
But Woods is preparing for a real battle and doesn’t want to dwell on last weekend’s superb win at Bedwas which was rewarded with an away draw in the Swalec Cup quarter-finals for the 2012 winners against Cardiff late next month.
“It was a good win and was more like the performances we had put together earlier this season,” he said.
“We went into the Bedwas game not long after two shaky displays (away defeats to Moseley in the British and Irish Cup and Bedwas in the Premiership) – but they were only two shaky displays out of 24 this season.
“We have a tough game in store this weekend and Llandovery pose a massive threat in terms of the high tempo they play at, so there’s no way we will feel over confident going into this one. We really need to be mentally switched on.”
A good omen for Keys might be the fact that the last competitive match the Drovers played, they came unstuck 19-13 to Bedwas at the Bridge Field in the Premiership a fortnight ago.
Woods’ men have no injury worries after last week’s comprehensive triumph and there is good news on the horizon.
Two influential backs in centre and captain Leon Andrews (elbow) and scrum-half Ryan James (chest) could be back from injury within four weeks.
• Boycezone, a Max Boyce tribute act, will play before Cross Keys’ home Premiership clash with Cardiff at Pandy Park on Friday, March 14, kick-off 7.15pm.
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