Newport Still Hoping To Reach Heineken Cup Quarter-finals
3 January 2002 12:43pm
Newport coach Ian McIntosh is determined to end this season's Heineken Cup Pool section on a high note and has not yet given up on an outside chance of one of the last two places in the quarter-final line-up.
Newport will finish second in Pool 6 if they make it doubles over Toulouse and Newcastle in the next two weeks and, with eight points, could be one of the two best second placed teams.
The quest begins in Toulouse on Saturday when Newport will be hoping to
repeat their home win over the French champions in a fixture that kicks-off
at 6.00 pm local time.
"These are two very important games for us and we want to maintain our current momentum throughout January," said McIntosh.
"We will be using the full strength of our squad in Toulouse and in the home game against Newcastle. We will be aiming to win both matches and, if we can do that, it will be a major achievement for the club.
"A place in the quarter-finals is still attainable, although we know it will require two amazing victories and a few other results to go our way.
"Nevertheless, the players will be focussing on doing just that."
McIntosh has given Matthew Watkins a chance to shine at outside half and
fellow Wales A cap Jason Strange a start at outside half.
Mike Voyle packs down in the second row with skipper Simon Raiwalui, while Joe Powell moves across the back row from No 8 to blindside flanker.
NEWPORT: Matt Pini; Matt Mostyn, Matthew Watkins, Jon Pritchard, Ben Breeze; Jason Strange, Ofisa Tonu'u; Rod Snow, Paul Young, Chris Anthony, Simon Raiwalui (captain), Mike Voyle, Joe Powell, Jason Forster, Andy Powell.
Replacements: Ceri Jones, James Richards, Ian Gough, Peter Buxton, Andy
Marinos, Shane Howarth, Dale Burn.
WRU International Skills Coach Jason Strange is a busy man, combining the new role with that of Wales Under 20 attack coach, Ebbw Vale head coach and continuing to teach at Ebbw Fawr Learning Community.
Warren Gatland and Sam Warburton look ahead to this week's crunch RBS 6 Nations tie against France, where the Wales skipper in particular is keen to make his mark, as Paris has proved a bleak place for him in the past.
Following their historic win over England, Wales Under 20 suffered a narrow, 36-34 loss to their Scottish counterparts last weekend, despite outscoring them by five tries to three. Watch the match highlights and reaction.
WRU TV go behind the scenes with the Wales squad as they put the final touches in place ahead of the clash against Scotland at Murrayfield. Follow the squad on their captain's run, the kickers visit to Murrayfield and Neil Jenkins' press conference