Pontypool RFC centre Clayton Gullis believes the club will have to be clinical in attack if they are to emerge victorious from their WRU National Cup quarter-final tie at home to Bridgend Ravens this weekend, writes Andrew Deering.
Leighton Jones' men will welcome the Brewery Field outfit to Gwent on Saturday afternoon looking to claim their fifth Principality Premiership scalp in the competition since the start of Jones' reign in 2016. The Championship leaders defeated Cross Keys RFC 19-9 in the second round of the competition and will relish the opportunity to come face-to-face with another Premiership side.
Gullis, who recently scored his 44th league try for the club, making him Pooler's second highest league try-scorer of all time, will hope to make an impact from the replacements bench and is well aware of what will be required. "Playing against Premiership opposition always means a step up in quality and intensity and we know we will have a lot fewer chances to score.
"We will need to be accurate when opportunities come our way and ensure we manage pressure and control the key periods of the game. We scored two well taken tries against Cross Keys in the last round, so we are confident in our ability to score tries when the pressure is on," said Gullis.
The club last reached the final four of the competition in 1991 and despite the aim of achieving promotion back to the Premiership still being Pooler's primary objective, Gullis is well aware of the impetus and excitement a run in the cup can generate. "It is well-documented that, since 2016, we have been building towards achieving promotion, but the cup allows us to express ourselves against some of the best teams in the country.
"Over the last few years, we have enjoyed great success in the competition and I know it’s something that not just us as group, but the whole community gets excited about."
The game is set to attract the biggest crowd to Pontypool Park since the club's 20-17 league defeat to RGC 1404 in April 2016. Gullis, who with his father used to attend Pooler games at Pontypool Park regularly in his youth, is looking forward to seeing the ground packed out once again. "The Park is a special venue and one that means a lot to me personally," said 28 year-old. "We have a great record on our own patch and one we will be looking to continue on Saturday.
"We are one of the best supported clubs in the country and I know there is a lot of interest surrounding the game in the community. I'm looking forward to seeing the main stand and the bank full with supporters and they will undoubtedly create some serious noise to help push the boys on."