Keys need set piece response

First published in Gwent Rugby South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

CROSS KEYS v CARDIFF (Tomorrow, KO 2.30)

THE Cross Keys pack have been read the riot act ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Cardiff at Pandy Park.

Keys head into the game against the in-form side from the capital on the back of a disappointing 12-6 loss to Llanelli at Parc y Scarlets.

Given that they were outplayed for most of the game by their hosts, it was some consolation that they at least headed back east with a losing bonus point.

But the Keys coaching staff could find no positives from their performance in the scrums and lineouts.

“It was a dreadful game and our forwards were beaten in the set piece,” said head coach Greg Woods.

“That’s part of our game that we normally pride ourselves on but it was a reminder that if you don’t get the basics right then you won’t get the points.

“We have to take it on the chin and the whole front eight have to come back firing.

“There was no point looking at how the backs did because the forwards didn’t provide them with scrum or lineout ball.

“We need to refocus and impose ourselves from the off against Cardiff.”

The visitors will be looking for their fifth win on the bounce when they head to Pandy Park and would overtake third-placed Keys if they are successful.

But the hosts are eyeing up a win that would ensure that it has been a job well done in the first batch of Premier-ship fixtures.

In fact, Woods insists it is an encounter that puts next weekend’s trip to the north east to face Dean Richards’ Newcastle in the shade.

“A win before the break for the British and Irish Cup would really set us up nicely,” said Woods.

“This is a huge game – bigger than Newcastle – and we have got to cope with the pressure.

“We are at home and if we are to be a top side then we need to react to defeats and win these sorts of games.”

Keys are boosted by the return of influential lock Dan Hodge, who was suspended last week because of an accumulation of yellow cards, and are set to select three hookers in the pack.

Garry Horrigan will don the number 2 jersey while Ger-wyn Price and Jamie Sollis will start in the back row with No8 eight Adam Powell.

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