Cross Keys coach Greg Woods lauds 'immense' Dan Hodge & Co
CROSS Keys head coach Greg Woods praised “immense” lock Dan Hodge and the rest of his team after keeping their British and Irish Cup hopes burning brightly with a gritty win over Moseley.
The Gwent Valleys side came out on top 20-16 in a real dogfight at Pandy Park on Saturday against the physical and steely English Championship outfit whose ranks included many full-time professional players.
Keys, made up largely of semi-pros, did themselves proud and head east along the M4 on Saturday on a high for the challenge of struggling Ealing Trailfinders in their next group match before back-to-back encounters with Leinster A in December.
The London club are without a win this season with four defeats from four in the Championship, compounded by the weekend’s 49-8 hammering away at the hands of the Irish province’s development side in Dublin.
If they hadn’t realised it before taking on Moseley just how big and tough players at the Birmingham side’s level can be, they will certainly know it now.
Keys were under intense pressure in the opening quarter of last weekend’s game before managing to hit their opponents on the break with two tries by wing Nathan Trowbridge, one a peach following a gorgeous move involving fly half Angus O’Brien and Luke Williams.
Woods paid tribute to his side’s defence and their ingenuity in attack when they picked up the scraps of possession that turned a backs to the wall crisis into an unlikely 20-3 lead at half-time.
“To weather that storm in the first ten minutes was excellent and when we had the ball, we looked dangerous,” he said.
“We were clinical, which was great because that’s what we’ve had to improve on over the last few weeks.
“We got that big lead and I was a bit disappointed (with the second half), but when you are playing against boys on good money and they are pros, then it’s going to be tight in the end but we dug in
“I said to the boys before the game that we aren’t going to blow sides away by 30 points in the British and Irish Cup.
“And we probably haven’t had that kind of power thrown at us since that Newcastle game away last season, so to make sure they didn’t score straight off was great.”
On man of the match Hodge, Woods added: “Dan was immense, absolutely immense and he was up against two really good campaigners in Cory Hill and Mike Powell, but there was only one second row on that field.”
Keys centre Aled James had to leave the field after a quarter of an hour with a hamstring injury while full back Aaron Bramwell didn’t emerge for the second half after a blow to the head.
On a brighter note, they are optimistic of welcoming back influential centre Phil Williams from a shoulder injury for Ealing.
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