Cross Keys targeting play-off places – Adam Powell
ADAM Powell says Cross Keys are determined to make the Principality Premiership play-offs next year after suffering the heartache of so narrowly missing out last season.
The Pandy Park side were just one point short of a place in the top three which would have given the chance of competing for the title won by Pontypridd.
After an impressive pre-season build-up and British and Irish Cup play-off campaign saw them beat Newport 39-17 and Bedwas 45-13, Keys have high hopes for this season.
Back rower Powell, 27, hopes they will be in the Premiership title mix next May as his side gear up for this weekend’s first league encounter away at last year’s basement club Swansea.
“We’ve set the bar really high this season and we want to finish higher than we did last year, finishing fifth and missing out on the play-offs by just a point, which was devastating,” he said.
“The boys have been working hard all summer and the management set us a target of winning four from four in our pre-season campaign and to get two from two to qualify for the British and Irish Cup.
“We are excited by the way things have gone but we need to make sure we push on.
“You’ve got to remember there’s the possibility of relegation this season so every team will be scrapping for every point that is on offer and there’ll be no easy games.”
Last season Swansea won just three games in the league out of 22, losing the remaining 19.
The reason they avoided the drop was because the Premiership was ring-fenced but one team could be promoted from the Swalec Championship if they win the title and meet various criteria at the end of this campaign.
The famous St Helen's Rugby and Cricket Ground, which regularly hosted Wales international matches until 1954, has not been a happy hunting ground for Keys in recent times.
But the Pandy Park outfit claimed an historic away win last September in the Premiership when they were good value for a 25-14 victory over the All Whites – their first in 55 years.
And that triumph was followed by another momentous victory as Swansea were put to the sword in the return fixture, Keys hammering the visitors in late November with a record 48-0 success over their opponents.
It remains to be seen if coach Mefin Davies has managed to turn the tide after such a calamitous campaign last season.
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