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Jones pleased with players' reaction

Sunday 05th December 2021

Head coach Leighton Jones felt his side took “a big step towards the style we want to play” as they swept TATA Steel RFC aside at Pontypool Park.

Pooler got things going in under a minute when scrum-half Owain Leonard sprinted clear to the whitewash and that was a sign of things to come. Darren Hughes, Duan Thomas and Geraint Walsh added further tries before the break to bag the bonus point.

But Pontypool RFC didn’t take their foot off the gas and racked up the score with Thomas completing his hat-trick and Hughes grabbing his second of the afternoon. Pat Lewis, Scott Matthews and Cameron Regan all touched down before constant pressure saw them awarded a penalty try.

The hosts kept going and added their 12th try with the last action of the game through Sam Scarfe and Jones was delighted with the response his players showed after last weekend’s defeat at Neath RFC.

“There are still parts of that game that need addressing and looking at but we just asked the boys for a response from last week and the work rate, the passion and the hunger were all there today and that’s all we were really judging ourselves and the boys delivered that one hundred per cent,” explained Jones.

“We’re behind the races a bit with everyone else because of coming back later and stuff like that so we knew it was going to take a bit of time to get that cohesion within the team but today we seemed to take a big step towards the style we want to play.

“They are a tight-knit bunch of boys and they play for each other.

“Some of the boys were hurting from last week’s performance and some of those boys haven’t had the opportunity to put the jersey on today.

“So the boys today were not just doing it for themselves and the team, they were doing it for the squad and that’s a big focus of ours.

“We’re a tight squad and we look after each other so the boys knew they were coming out today for the squad and not just for the boys who took to the field.”

Matthew Jarvis was one of nine changes in the team and capped off a memorable debut with a 20-point haul with 10 of the 11 conversions he attempted on target.

However, Jones felt his all-round play elevated his side to a new level.

“He’s one of those players who seems to have a lot of time when the ball is in his hands and I think that just speaks volumes for those kind of players," he added.

“They have that time and that composure and they generally seem to pick the right options as he proved today.

“He was putting boys into space and into the gaps with his passing and his kicking game was spot-on as well so he definitely brought a dimension to our team that we’ve been missing.”


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