We’ve rounded up all of the key points from Duncan Jones’ press conference ahead of European Challenge Cup Round 5 clash, with Worcester Warriors at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday. (K.O. 3pm).
Here’s what he had to say about…
- It was a very physical game last time we played them back in October. Worcester started well and we came back into the game, probably gave them too much of a head-start. But you look how they’ve gone in their domestic competitions; they’ve got a very good forward pack, they look after the ball well and they’ve got the ability to score some tries. We’re expecting a big physical encounter, but it hopefully should be a good game.
- You look at Worcester’s form, they are quite patient, they’ve got a very good set-piece, and they will grind you down. Hopefully we won’t end up in that scenario, with as many players off as what happened in their game on the weekend.
- When we played them away, they started off very well and accumulated a lot of points. We do understand that we have to meet that physical challenge first, they are a side that won’t go away, but you don’t expect that so it’s about us trying to get our performance right.
- They are a direct physical side, but they do have the ability to play another way. It’s the same as a lot of the games now, you know its about securing that set-piece ball and if you can get on the front foot, then it is a lot easier to play that game and we’re assuming that they’ll come pretty similar to that.
- It’s disappointing for Rhodri Jones, being de-registered from Europe, but as is the case in most scenarios, it opens the door for someone else to try and take their chance. In an ideal world, we’d have everyone fit and fighting for those starting places, but it’ll be up to whoever gets the chance now to step up.
- Hopefully for Rhodri now, it’ll be a speedy recovery. We don’t know the time-scale on his injury yet, we’ll probably know more at the end of the week when he’s been to see the specialists, but he’s in good hands with our medical team.
- I haven’t caught up with the physios, but I don’t think, hopefully, Adam Beard’s injury is as serious as it looked when he was stretchered off. The medical team are always spot-on with the players, so it was just precautionary taking him off in the way that they did. I have managed to speak to him, he said his neck was a little bit stiff, but nothing too untoward.
- I’m not sure if he’ll be in contention this week, but I’d assume not after what he put in coming off like that. It’ll probably be the medical team who will check him off later in the week.
- Adam was someone who we always said there was a lot of potential with him, and this year he’s really kicked on. He’s great to have in the group, he’s a very good rugby player. He’s ran the lineout, but his general play has been good on the International stage and he’s really brought that form back to us as well.
- In terms of the time-frame of Nicky Smith’s injury. We haven’t been given the update from the physios because we’ve been preparing for this, we knew he wouldn’t be near for this one. Unfortunately, in the role that I am he’d be further down the line, but from Nicky’s viewpoint you’d hope that he’s recovering well.
- It’s well documented all the bumps, but probably a lot of the teams in the region at this time of year are similar. I think players have all been there when you wait for your chance, so if some of those boys get the opportunity to step-up, they’ll hopefully take that. Everyone who plays for us understands what is expected of them when they put the jersey on.
Loose-head Options for this weekend:
- Gareth Thomas has stepped up and taken his opportunity really well. He showed up in the Scarlets game, and the other bits he’s come on in. Rowan Jenkins has been in and around training a bit, and there’s a couple of younger boys from the academy who are in and around in the fringes. I know they are still young, but sometimes these are the opportunities you have to take.
- In an ideal world you have everyone and you’ve got your full depth, but as a player you do all that training and sometimes you need that chance. Admittedly it doesn’t always go great, but usually you come out the other side having learnt some lessons and you’re a little bit better.