Newport boost front row by signing up Pooler prop
BRIDGEND v NEWPORT (Tomorrow, KO 2.30)
NEWPORT have bolstered their front row ranks ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Bridgend by signing Pontypool captain Jamie Jeune.
The signing of the loosehead prop, who can also play hooker, is a timely boost for the Black and Ambers.
They are set to lose Dai Pattison to suspension in the coming weeks following his red card against Llanelli last month.
It isn’t just on the loosehead that Newport are short on numbers, 17-year-old Alex Jeffries has worn the number 3 jersey for three of their six games in the absence of captain Gethin Robinson and Jamie Jones.
The Black and Ambers recognise the need to give the talented teen a break so intend to sign a new tighthead as well as Jeune.
“Jamie can cover both prop and hooker, which will be very useful,” said head coach Sven Cronk, who was unable to replace Pattison and Jeffries at Llandovery last weekend because of their prop shortage.
“He relishes his defensive duties, tackles well and is a really effective ball carrier, which perhaps we have been lacking from our tight five.
“Jamie has plenty of experience and we know what he can do, but we are still looking for a tighthead.
“Alex Jeffries has been fantastic but injuries have meant his development plan has been blown out of the water. He has been playing really well for us but it’s a long season and we don’t really want to be in a situation where a 17-year-old is starting so many games.”
Newport complete a run of three away games on the spin when they travel to the Brewery Field tomorrow.
They head into the encounter on the back of a strong performance at table-topping Llandovery, albeit one that wasn’t reflected by the scoreline.
They lost 38-19 at Church Bank despite going into the final ten minutes with the lead.
“There were lots of positives but we paid the price for being sloppy at the end,” said Cronk.
“Once again our discipline let us down and we finished the game with 14 men (after a yellow card for back row forward Craig Everett).
“The stats tell you that you ship an average of ten points per card and we’ve had five yellows and two reds so far this season. That can’t carry on.
“But the performance against a very good Llan-dovery side shows that our new players are bedding into the structures we have in place.
“It was a really positive room when we did our analysis on Tuesday but now it’s all about getting the results to go with the improvements we are making.”
The Ravens sit at the bottom of the table with just one win from their six games – and that came against Llan-elli on opening day.
“Bridgend have had a tough start but they are a good side,” said Cronk.
“We will have to work hard as a front eight to try and get the upper hand and control things.
“They have real pace behind so we will have to watch their dangerous runners like Luke Morgan (Wales Under-20s wing and last season’s top Premiership try scorer) closely.”
Newport are still struggling for numbers in midfield with centres Dan Robinson, Adam Davies and Will Richards on the sidelines.