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Jones: The best team lost

Sunday 23rd October 2022

Leighton Jones feels his side were lucky to claim victory over a spirited and organised Ystrad Rhondda RFC in the WRU Admiral National Championship yesterday.

Pooler left it late to complete a remarkable turnaround and claim another bonus-point victory to keep their perfect record intact.

However, they were made to work for it with Ystrad pushing them all the away and almost leaving Pontypool Park with a victory to their name.

Ieuan Jones got things off to the best start as he marked his 50th Pooler appearance with a try but Ystrad had other ideas with tries from McCauley Rowley and Cole Morgan and a Rhys Truelove penalty giving them a half-time advantage.

A second Morgan try after the break extended Ystrad’s lead even further but skipper Scott Matthews forced his way over to keep Pooler in the hunt.

A Truelove penalty looked enough to keep Pontypool at bay but Matthews’ second try on 73 minutes set up a grandstand finish and the pressure finally told in the dying seconds when referee Steff Edwards awarded a penalty try.

“The best team lost, definitely,” said head coach Jones.

“They were far hungrier than we were and were far more clinical. “

“That was definitely a get out of jail free card used by us. The driving lineout probably brought us back to win the game.

“They’ve got one or two boys who have come down from the Premiership.

“They are all from the same village, they are all mates and you could clearly see that out there when they were putting big hits in or when we were making mistakes they were all over it.

“They are passionate and their hearts are on their sleeves and they definitely wanted it more than us.”

While the performance may not have lived up to the standards that have been set this season, the team still came away with five points and that is the silver lining for Jones.

“If we are trying to look at some positives from the game we’ve played badly and come away with five points,” he continued.

“[We made] errors after errors after errors.

“The conditions changed and we were trying to play an offloading game, we’ve got 3-on-1s and boys are trying to go themselves, it was just a bad day all round.

“The boys who came off the bench made an impact and raised our energy levels and it was probably them boys who got us over the line to win.

“Games like that are good for us, some of the boys can look at themselves, their work rate, attitude and maybe a few egos were dented and that if we don’t put the hard work in, any team in this league can beat us.

“The sign of a good team and a good squad is winning when not playing great and we managed to do that.

“We found the chink in Ystrad Rhondda and we kept going back to that area and it won us the game.”


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