Sven slams players
NEWPORT v LLANDOVERY
NEWPORT have been read the riot act ahead of tomorrow’s Premiership clash with Llandovery after producing a “brain dead” performance.
The Black and Ambers were thrashed 29-9 by Cross Keys at Pandy Park last week, failing to score a try for the third game in a row.
And it was the manner of the defeat that was particularly galling for head coach Sven Cronk.
“To be honest, we were brain dead against Keys and need to smarten up against Llandovery,” he said.
“Pandy Park is a difficult place to go but we knew what to expect – they were always going to be direct, confrontational and test us by carrying hard around the corner from their nine.
“We went in 7-6 down at half-time after playing up the slope but the second half performance was unacceptable.
“We failed to get field position, made far too many errors and were going off script with players trying their own stuff and running away from support lines rather than sticking to our processes.
“Keys have a proud defensive record and it was asking for trouble against an organized side.
“The whole squad knows that they need to respond after a really disappointing performance and the pack are under no illusions that they need to be more aggressive and play with a lot more intensity.”
The Drovers have hit the skids after making a sensational start to the season.
They won their first six league games of the campaign to top the table and were unbeaten in all competitions until Keys beat them at Pandy Park on November 17.
Llandovery have since slipped to fourth but Cronk knows the play-off contenders remain a serious threat.
“Llandovery are still a quality, very well coached side,” said Cronk.
“They will be looking to come down here and take the game to us, so we are under no illusions that a massive improvement is needed.”
Newport are hoping that Ross Coombs will return from a knee injury to bolster their back row where he will be joined by Phil Sargent on permit from Bedwas.
They will attempt to fill the void left by blindside Sam Waldron, potentially out until March after fracturing his arm against Bedwas last month.