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Jones pleased to secure win on rugby return

Saturday 07th January 2023

It was result over performance against Cardiff Met RFC for head coach Leighton Jones as Pontypool RFC marked their return to action with a battling victory.

Pooler hadn’t played since December 3, and were understandably rusty as they welcomed a young and energetic Met side to Pontypool Park.

The visitors themselves hadn’t played for three weeks due to the Christmas break and with the heavens opening shortly before kick-off it was never going to be the greatest spectacle.

A fiercely competitive first half saw Pontypool edge into a 12-7 lead courtesy of tries from Deon Smith and Scott Matthews, along with a Matthew Jarvis conversion.

A converted Josh Carrington try ensured the score was well balanced heading into the second half.

The hosts were able to assert their authority after the break and grabbed a third try through number eight Ieuan Jones but the bonus-point clinching try continued to elude them.

However, with the clock ticking down replacement prop Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths popped up in the right place to go over in the corner before Pat Lewis made it safe a few minutes later.

“It was a battle,” remarked Jones.

“Cardiff Met fronted up and they asked a lot of questions of us and obviously with the weather the way it was it turned into what we expected.

“We knew what the conditions were going to be like all week and it’s obvious you are not going to play that running brand of rugby so it was going back to the power game with the scrum and driving lineout.

“It was worked on quite a lot this week and from the tries scored and the result it proved we got on top in that area.

“It was pleasing that the boys stuck at the task, it wasn’t all great but we got on top of them in the end up front and managed to squeeze the win and bonus point.

“We always knew with the first game back there were going to be things to work on.

“It’s good to play Cardiff Met and they sent up a good team to expose us.

“There are definitely some work-ons, with the ball and without the ball, but it was just pleasing to get the win and the bonus point.”

With his side chasing a fourth try to secure the bonus point for much of the second half, Jones felt his side were putting too much pressure on themselves and urged them to regain their composure and stick to the plan.

“I think after the three tries and the gap in the scoreline rather than the pressure coming off us we put the pressure on ourselves to go and get the bonus point,” he explained.

“I was trying to get the message out to not panic and as long as we kept to the game plan we would have scored that fourth try.

“The pressure builds then and the boys are chasing it and Joel’s gone over the line and dropped the ball and there were overlaps squandered, it was just the pressure.

“The boys haven’t played for several weeks but they are going to put pressure on themselves but it was just about getting that message on to stop panicking and stop trying the miracle tries and just go back to the structure.”

The result continues Pooler’s remarkable record this season of achieving maximum points from their nine league fixtures so far and leaves them two points behind Neath RFC, with a game in hand. The Welsh All Blacks travel to third-placed Bargoed RFC, who are 11 points behind Pontypool, next weekend.


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