Playoff berth the prize for high-flying Keys against Quins

First published in Gwent Rugby

CROSS Keys will make it a perfect week if they beat Carmarthen Quins to climb into the Premiership playoff spots tomorrow afternoon, writes Chris Kirwan.

Keys won on the road at Neath last weekend and Newport on Tuesday to set up a mouthwatering encounter with the Quins at Pandy Park.

The visitors currently sit third but only enjoy a one-point lead over their hosts with four fixtures remaining.

If Keys can make it a hat-trick of quickfire league triumphs then they will not only be sitting pretty for the playoffs but they will fancy their chances of earning a home semi-final.

To achieve that they will need to produce their best performance of the week, according to head coach Greg Woods.

“Quins had a flying start to the season (winning their first eight) and have the ability to squeeze results out so we have to be smart,” he said.

“We need to play in the right areas and cannot afford to be giving penalties away that give them field position.

“But our focus won’t particularly be on what they do well because we haven’t been on top form even though we have been winning.

“We are at home and it’s a hell of an incentive to go into that top three. We set a target of 12 points from these three game and we are on nine, so now we need to finish the job.”

Keys were the first to admit that they were far from their best when beating Newport 10-9 at Rodney Parade thanks to Dorian Jones’ late penalty.

It wasn’t the most dazzling of spectacles but there was no shortage of commitment and Woods was delighted to see his charges tough it out.

“Fair play to Newport, they won the physical battle and put us under severe pressure at the contact area... but we got the win and that’s all that matters at this stage of the season,” he said.

“It was a scrappy game but the boys showed spirit to edge it even without playing particularly well.”

Keys will once again be boosted by the presence of Dragons blindside flanker Ieuan Jones, who played against Neath but couldn’t feature in the derby against Newport because of the gentleman’s agreement between Gwent clubs.

Influential loosehead Richard Cornock is set to return after being among the replacements against Newport when he helped win a penalty try just seconds after being called from the bench.

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