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.
The SWALEC semi-final draws threw up some mouth-watering clashes in the Cup, Plate and Bowl as the 12 teams aim for the Millennium Stadium Finals Day. All the semi-finals are to be played on the weekend of April 12.
Welsh whistler Rhys Thomas continues to scale the heights of the game as he prepares to be an official in this weekend's Hong Kong Sevens tournament, undoubtedly the showpiece event on the World Series calendar.
Wales International Ian Evans and Wales and Lions legend Scott Quinnell swapped rugby balls for paint pots at Tonna during the RBS 6 Nations. They surprised club players with a special clubhouse makeover to launch NatWest RugbyForce 2014 - a programme developed in partnership with the WRU to make rugby clubs stronger businesses by improving and renovating their facilities with the support of volunteers and the local community.
Fresh from claiming the Bowl honours in Tokyo last Sunday, the Wales Sevens squad have settled into their routine as they prepare for this weekend's Hong Kong tournament where Iolo Evans is aiming high, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers.
The Welsh Rugby Union has recently teamed up with Prostate Cymru to help the charity launch its latest campaign to raise awareness of the disease. Members of the Wales squad helped produce a short video and promotional material for the campaign titled 'The Best Defence - is to know the FACTS'.
Defending champions Coleg Sir Gar reached their second consecutive Millennium Stadium final as they defeated Coleg Gwent in the WRU Wednesday Under 18 play-off. Watch highlights of their narrow 10-8 win here.
Wales Sevens head coach Gareth Williams has freshened up his squad for the next two rounds of the World Series in Japan and Hong Kong where Tom Williams, Owen Jenkins and Ross Jones make the trip along with returning Alex Webber and Craig Price.