Leon Andrews couldn't capture SWALEC Cup glory with Cross Keys on Sunday
Leon Andrews is hoping his Cross Keys side can bounce back to avenge their SWALEC Cup Final defeat in style.
He wants Keys to produce a Pontypridd-style comeback to win the Principality Premiership title, after the Sardis Road outfit beat his side 21-8 at the Millennium Stadium just a week after being dumped out of the British and Irish Cup semi-finals on try-count.
Andrews insists his own team are aiming to put their heartbreak behind them in a similar style, with a rematch with Paul John's men in the Premiership final on May 18 the perfect place to do that. But first they will have to negotiate a tough away semi-final at Carmarthen Quins, who finished second in the league, eight points ahead of the men from Pandy Park.
"The good thing is we have the chance to put this result right at Carmarthen this Sunday," said centre Andrews, who was understandably downbeat after their SWALEC Finals Day defeat but is hoping to make amends next week and the week after.
"Hopefully, we can bounce back after a loss like Ponty did against us and then hopefully we'll have a rematch in two weeks' time and we can put it right then."
Andrews highlighted James Cordy-Redden's disallowed try late on as a potentially crucial moment at the Millennium Stadium but he admitted that it was Cross Keys' own mistakes that really cost them a second SWALEC Cup crown in three seasons.
Things could also have been different had full back Steffan Jones not missed four shots at goal but Andrews felt his simply 'didn't turn up'.
"We didn't play to the game plan that we'd been training for the last two weeks and we were just beaten by the better team," added Andrews. "I've got no excuses, we weren't quite there. I'm disappointed in the way we played - I'm just gutted.
"It went wrong from the start, really. They beat us in the contact area by being more physical than us, having better body positions than us and we didn't execute our skills properly.
"The try that wasn't given was the turning point with 10 minutes to go - we were in the ascendancy and I think if that was given we could have gone on and won. Sometimes you get the rub of the green and sometimes you don't and unfortunately we didn't. But we let ourselves down in the first half so I can't really blame that."
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.
The WRU officially unveiled the new pitch today in time for Wales to take on Australia in the first of the Dove Men Series autumn international matches this Saturday. Head Groundsman Lee Evans and colleague Craig Campbell reflect on the 15-week project and look ahead to a pitch perfect future at Millennium Stadium.