Keys coach: We need to take the game to Ponty to win the title

Elliott Jones (5544127)

Elliott Jones (5544127)

First published in Gwent Rugby
Last updated

CROSS Keys head coach Greg Woods believes his side can win their first Principality Premiership title as long as they don't go into their shells at Pontypridd on Sunday, writes Chris Kirwan.

The Pandy Park outfit earned a shot at the champions with a superb 31-20 win at Carmarthen Quins on Sunday after Leon Andrews (2) and wing Elliott Jones crossed for tries and fly-half Dorian Jones booted 16 points.

The reward is a chance to avenge their Swalec Cup final defeat to Ponty, who will be looking for a double double at Sardis Road (kick-off 5.30pm).

Keys may have lost to the champions 21-8 at the Millennium Stadium but have already triumphed at the infamous 'House of Pain' this season.

They produced a stunning performance for a 38-17 bonus point win in December and Woods wants to use the same blueprint this weekend.

"Ponty took us to school at the contact area in the cup final so we have to match their physicality," he said.

"You have to go to Sardis Road to play attacking rugby, keep the pace high and score tries, which we did in December.

"Hopefully our nerves will hold and we don't perform like we did in the cup final but it's a hell of an achievement for a club like Cross Keys to be challenging for the league title."

Keys opted to play into a strong wind in the first half in Carmarthen and that proved to be a wise decision when they fought back from a 13-0 deficit to lead 22-20 at the break.

"We were rewarded for the way that we moved the ball playing into the wind," said Woods. "To come back from 13-0 typifies our season.

"We started believing again. Over past few weeks we put ourselves under massive pressure and that stopped us playing but we came here and wanted to attack, keeping the ball in hand.

"But we have got to raise our game again from Carmarthen. It has to go up another level but we have shown we are capable of doing that."

Keys picked up no fresh injuries and should head to Sardis with a similar squad to the one that went west. Dragons back row forwards Jevon Groves and Ieuan Jones should feature while they are hopeful of having scrum-half James Leadbeater on permit from Newport again.

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