Keys up for Eagles – Cross Keys v Connacht Eagles. Tomorrow. KO 2pm

WINGING IT: Cross Keys' Dorian Jones

WINGING IT: Cross Keys' Dorian Jones

First published in Gwent rugby Campaign Series: Photograph of the Author by

LAST season’s British & Irish Cup finalists Cross Keys select a strong match-day squad for tomorrow’s clash as they look for this campaign’s first tournament win.

The hosts face Connacht Eagles on the back of three encouraging successive performances in the Premiership.

Keys knocked Llandovery off the top of the table with a 22-15 home win in the middle of November before pushing fellow high flyers Pontypridd all the way, going down 37-24 at Sardis Road.

Last Friday they hammered Swansea 48-0 at Pandy Park in what was a record victory, Newport Gwent Dragons outside half Steffan Jones bagging 28 points thanks to two tries, three conversions and four penalties.

Keys head coach Greg Woods is looking forward to tomorrow’s showdown and picks a strong side to face the Irishmen, also looking for their first victory in the competition this season.

“We’ve played well in the league over the last three weeks but it’s nice to play in this competition on the weekend,” he said.

“We love this tournament and we haven’t made massive changes.”

Injuries to Kristian Baller, Nathan Trowbridge, Nathan Williams, Elliott Jones and Jonny Lewis mean Dorian Jones gets another start on the wing.

The fly half played out wide six days ago instead of Baller (forced out with a hamstring injury just before kick-off) and celebrated his performance with a fine try.

“Dorian did very well against Swansea. He has fantastic pace and a great kicking game,” Woods said.

“This weekend provides Scott Matthews with a good chance at openside – he has been very patient on the bench this season and is one to look out for in the future.”

Woods is also delighted to have his backs coach Byron Hayward on board, the former Wales international getting his incumbency as replacement for Mark Ring off to a great start against Swansea.

“Byron has great experience and it’s good to have someone come in from outside the club with a fresh pair of eyes,” said Woods.

Cross Keys: G David, L Williams, L Andrews, L Ford, D Jones, S Jones, R James (capt), R Cornock, G Price, A Lott, O Hodge, D Hodge, T Lampard, S Matthews, A Powell. Replacements: J Johnstone, C Gould, G Horrigan, S Higgins, R Nash, R Dyer, D Gunter.

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