Keys aim to bounce back
CROSS Keys head coach Greg Woods is hoping that his side can turn from victims of a classic away job to the perpetrators when they head to Bridgend tomorrow afternoon.
The Keys saw a half-time lead of 13-6 turned into a 22-13 defeat against Pontypridd at Pandy Park last weekend.
It was a first defeat of the season and a top performance will be needed at the Brewery Field against a Ravens side that has already sent Newport and Swansea heading home with their tails between their legs.
Woods is encouraging his team to take a leaf out of Ponty’s book.
“It has been pretty edgy and spikey in training this week and there have been a few hard words said about that second half performance,” he said.
“You have to give Pontypridd a lot of credit because they didn’t spill the ball, they didn’t panic, they took the points on offer and we just couldn’t build any pressure on them.
“They did to us what we have done to a lot of teams recently – it’s rare for our forwards to be totally starved of possession and territory. It was a classic away performance and they showed why they are a top team. We have to learn from that performance.
“There was also a lot of pleasing stuff from the first 40 minutes, we had them on the ropes but just couldn’t land that knockout blow.
“But the second half wasn’t good enough and we haven’t held back from telling the boys that.
“They need to make it as uncomfortable for Bridgend as it was for us.”
Keys ring the changes with one alteration to the pack and five behind the scrum.
Skipper Rob Nash is on the bench with Cae Trayhern switching to openside flanker and Rhys Peebles coming in at blindside.
Steffan Jones and Leon Andrews moves from full-back to fly-half and centre to full-back respectively while there is a first start for Luke Williams, a summer arrival from the Scarlets, in midfield. Scrum-half Owen Jones, centre Nathan Williams and wings Marcus Johnstone and Ryan Lee also get call-ups.
“We are not usually a side that make a lot of changes but there are players in this squad that deserve a chance,” said Woods.
“They have been given an opportunity and it’s up to them to take it now.”
Cross Keys: L Andrews, R Lee, L Williams, N Williams, M Johnstone, S Jones, O Jones (captain), R Cornock, G Price, M Jones, T Lampard, D Hodge, R Peebles, C Trayhern, J Groves. Replacements: J Sollis, R Nash, I George, L Rawlins, K Baller, G David, P Williams.