Ryan Jones says "it's far too early to rule anyone in or out" of the Heineken Cup after Saturday's draw in Treviso and that next month's "two massive games against Saracens" will go some way to shaping Pool 5.
Speaking in the aftermath of the 26-all draw at Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Jones gave his reaction to the game:
“It’s the obvious thing to say but the overriding emotion is one of disappointment. I think we have to reflect on it as a missed opportunity, but trying to look at the positives, I’d have to say that we managed to get something out of it at the end when it looked as though all was lost.
“There were periods in the game where I thought the flow was good and we played some pretty decent stuff, but there were long passages of play where we failed to dominate possession or territory and that was a telling factor. Individual errors and a lack of accuracy, composure, call it what you want, meant that when it really mattered we weren’t able to make the most of what good play there was out there and we paid the ultimate price for it at times.
“I think we are clearly still rusty as a team. We aren’t quite firing together but we are getting better. I think we showed signs, I genuinely do, there were some passages of play that showed what we are capable of, but as a team, collectively we fell short of where we need to be and that’s disappointing for everyone, there’s no getting away from it.
“The positive is that there is clearly still more to come. We could do with time together now but things are what they are and the focus has to be on other things for a couple of weeks, but we are no different to anyone else there.
“Let’s be honest about things, we are still in a fantastic position despite the disappointment so I’m sure the long faces won’t be around for too long. We are still unbeaten in this competition and are still very much in the driving seat.
“There are two massive games against Saracens to come now and I’m sure our supporters are looking forward to as much as we are. It’s what the Heineken Cup is all about. It’s why it’s such a wonderful competition. There will be plenty of twists and turns over the next four rounds, so it’s far too early to rule anyone in or out, but we do know the Saracens games will be huge.
“It’s a difficult place to come. We knew coming here that they have a proud record here and have beaten some very good teams. They were going to play for territory and there’d be some quirky set pieces. If you don’t get your basics right and you don’t get the platform to implement your game from early on then they are a very difficult team to play against. They can be hard to contain, physical and direct as well,
“It certainly wasn’t a case of underestimating anybody, not on our behalf anyway. Whether other people underestimate Treviso and what they are about, how difficult it is out here isn’t for me to say, but we knew it wasn’t going to be a easy ride and that’s how it turned out.”