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Jones feels 'new buzz' at club this season

Sunday 04th September 2022
 

Leighton Jones admitted there is a “new buzz” around the team after opening the new WRU Admiral National Championship season in style with a thumping 50-3 victory at Maesteg Harlequins RFC.

This was the first fixture under the new management team led by long-term head coach Jones. This season he is supported by Andrew Quick, Shaun Connor, Lewis Roberts and Gareth Betts.

A number of new signings have come through the door as well and Jones is pleased with how they have all settled in and the standards they are setting.

Scrum-half Dan Babos came off the bench to bag a brace on his debut while winger Deon Smith also got on the scoresheet on his maiden appearance. Teenager Huw Anderson impressed at full back while flanker Callum Davies was his usual industrious self on his return to the club.

“Dan came on and he definitely quickened the game up,” explained Jones.

“He’s got an eye for those gaps and he took them both well.

“Huw was fantastic, he’s only 18-years-old and got plenty of promise. He’s put some nice kicks in, two try-saving tackles and I thought he was the pick of our players.

“Deon showed up well with his strength in the contact and to win the collisions and get us on the front foot and some of the offloads he produced were really nice.

“Callum Davies didn’t stop working from the first minute to the 80th and that’s what we want. There is competition here and the new boys have raised that competition.

“Our club went through a bit of a structure change [last season] but the players, coaches and management, everyone has come in and driven the standards up to where we expect it to be as a club.

“There is definitely a new buzz around the squad, if you spoke to any of the boys who have been here a while, they would say that the feeling we had is back and there’s definitely a buzz in camp.

“But it will be a buzz that needs to keep going and growing.”

It was a highly competitive 40 minutes of rugby in the first half at South Parade. Tries from Pat Lewis, Sam Scarfe and Sam Cochrane put Pooler in control but only a resilient defensive performance kept Quins at bay.

An Owen Howe penalty offered the hosts a way back into the game at the start of the second half but a Babos double and scores from Smith, Garin Price and Joel Mahoney sealed a deserved win with Matthew Jarvis kicking 10 points.

"That was always the target,” added Jones.

“In the first game of the season you are never where you want to be and there were some works ons but five points is five points. This is a difficult place to come and the boys showed up well.

“We spoke about starting well. When you go away from home it’s important to start well and put them on the back foot and we done that with 17-0.

“It was a good test in defence, the boys showed good character to dig in and get the systems right so that was pleasing.

“In the second half it was just about keeping the ball and going through the phases.

“The weather turned against us a bit so there were a few handling errors but overall it was a pleasing day.”

 

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