10:06am Saturday 10th May 2014
A SHOT at redemption is the incentive for Cross Keys when they head to Carmarthen tomorrow for the Principality Premiership semi-final (kick-off 5.30pm).
Keys were beaten 21-8 by Pontypridd in the final of the Swalec Cup last weekend but still have the chance to put a trophy in the Pandy Park display cabinet.
If they are keep hopes of a first title alive, and earn a clash with Ponty at Sardis Road, then they will need to do something for the first time this season – beat the Quins.
Carmarthen won both regular season encounters, 24-17 in the west and 7-3 in Gwent, and have also triumphed in 10 of 12 games on their own patch this season.
But Keys head west fuelled by the pain of a Millennium Stadium defeat and a frustration that they didn't do themselves credit.
"It's a huge game because we didn't give a good account of ourselves on a big stage," said head coach Greg Woods. "We are lucky that we have another chance to show on television that we are a good side.
"It has been a successful season but we want to have three cup finals at the end of it. We have to beat a very strong Carmarthen Quins side to earn the third.
"We need a dramatic improvement, especially in the contact area because we were taken to school by Pontypridd.
"Everyone has a point to prove – the boys that feel they underperformed last week and those that are bitter after missing out on selection for the final."
Keys have a lengthy injury list following their Millennium Stadium disappointment with scrum-halves Ryan James and Rhys Dyer, fly-half/full-back Steffan Jones, flanker Reuben Tucker, wing James Cordy-Redden and centre Aled James are sidelined along with long-term absentees full-back Rhys Jones and wing Kristian Baller.
Thankfully Dragons pair Ieuan Jones and Jevon Groves solve the back row headache while Keys know that there is no danger of stalwart Owen Jones letting them down at 9.
Cross Keys: R Lee, E Jones, L Andrews (captain), P Williams, N Trowbridge, D Jones, O Jones, R Cornock, D Hughes, A Lott, O Hodge, T Lampard, I Jones, J Groves, A Powell. Replacements: L Garrett, H Palmer, C Gould, D Hodge, S Higgins, J Perkins, N Williams, AN Other.
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