Keys will give Newcastle a game, says Greg Woods
CROSS Keys head coach Greg Woods says his team have to play out of their skins and hope Newcastle have an off day if they are to cause another famous cup giant killing tomorrow.
Last year the Pandy Park outfit caused a major upset when they toppled full-time professionals Cornish Pirates to reach the British and Irish Cup final.
That superb 20-16 win is regarded as the finest in Keys history by Woods, even surpassing last May’s 32-19 Swalec Cup final victory against Pontypridd at the Millennium Stadium for him.
But Newcastle are a step up from the Pirates and won’t be surrendering this season’s unbeaten record of 18 wins out of 18 in all competitive matches without a fight.
They thrashed Keys 52-5 at Kingston Park back in October.
Woods’ men go into tomorrow’s showdown on the back of a 27-27 draw against Newport at Rodney Parade in the competition last week.
He believes they take heart from aspects of that game, they came back from a 16-0 deficit early on, but need to learn from their mistakes as well.
“We are buoyed by the performance last week and I was impressed by the young boys who played – (openside) Scott Matthews was outstanding – but we need to be much better in defence,” Woods said.
“Newcastle have a fantastic reputation with what is effectively an Aviva Premiership squad – they can field a quality second XV.
“It’s going to be tough but we are determined to give them a game.”
Woods added: “There is no pressure on us but there is no such thing as a dead rubber when the game starts and the juices start flowing.
“We will have to be at the top of our game and they will have to have an off day.”
Scrum half Rhys Dyer – who became the 17th player to re-sign for the club this year when he penned a new deal this week – is expected to start tomorrow as is outside half Dorian Jones.